an education, II

all the other girls wear sweatpants
she doesn't even own a pair of sweatpants
because she's never worked out
and it's not like all the other girls actually
work out in their sweatpants;
their sweatpants that say
cheerleader and princess and babe on the ass;
they only wear sweatpants
to look like they don't care.

she's had the most acne of anyone she knows
since third grade
it doesn't bother her any more, really
that all the other girls have clear skin, or pretend to;
that particular pain is quite old, quite familiar
so familiar that when she paints on a new face
and the boys suddenly notice her
she can't think of anything to say to them.

she really doesn't give a damn
about your dog, or your mom, or your disabled brother;
and she knows she should be sorry for that
but she isn't.
so when all the other girls make small talk
she just nods, and smiles,
and hopes they'll leave her alone soon
so she can go back to doodling an alien empress
on the inside of her physics notebook.

all the other girls laugh at the stupidest shit
as if they really think it's funny
(and maybe they do);
but she just thinks that stupid shit is stupid
and she thinks it's sad
when the boy who sits in front of her
tries to convince his friend
that meiosis doubles the number of chromosomes
inside a cell.

her classmates sometimes notice
that she is almost always right about everything
so they ask her for help before tests;
she's almost never wrong
but sometimes, very rarely, she is
and then her classmates miss the question
but she never apologizes
because she is never sorry, even though
all the other girls are always sorry about everything.

all the other girls have long shiny hair
so she cut all her hair off.
she is so used to being different
she doesn't know how to be anything else.