Rich walks me to room 252, finishing some comment as he opens a steel, fire-rated door. I enter, and he closes that door behind me.
Fifteen Black and Hispanic teens look up. Some dress in worn flannels over T-shirts. Others wear white tank-tops with lots of “bling.” Nearly all of them wear baggy jeans off their hips. The youngest-looking could pass for twenty. Their indifferent eyes measure me as they sit in silence.
I swallow hard. I am their teacher; they wait for me.
No one else is coming.
Gold chains and fire-rated doors
Glisten in sunlight
Photograph by Ryan McGuire