On the first day, a spell of yellow caution tape
and fake blood seeds the girl’s imaginations.
I hang a banner of light cotton pennants,
peel the fake footprint pattern off the floor.
The room is huge, perfect for the investigation
of movement and ecstatic dance. Death was here
once, ok, but we can rise above that bar.
My suitcase with the word “Happy”
spelled out in bright duct tape letters
shares space near a glass-fronted cabinet
that holds a dummy in a grey suit. He leans
as if he’s been clubbed in the head. He has, the girls
decide, because look, I’ll bet he was coming up
from the basement when she hit him with the brick.
We whirl all week, spin outside ourselves,
bond into the Hoop Unit. Girls, circle up, I say,
and they hoop to the center of the room, or I sing,
Hoop, Hoop! and they respond with a Hooray!
so voluminous the glass in the cabinets rattles.
Every day I’m witness to their methods
of friendship. The peels from shared oranges
curl in the corner on a paper plate. Decks of hoop
tricks decorated, circumferences calculated,
personal boundaries stretched, they twirl and laugh,
secure the scene.
I hide the film of storyboards set up by the CSI class
in a grainy drawer, close the lids on footprint foam.
Happiness sometimes has no key and so has to pick
the lock, or spend hours filing down metal
until she can spring herself and her partner, Joy,
who are the perfect match. They court Trouble
on occasion, but their work songs are so full,
sealed with the physical evidence of a life well-lived.