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Photo courtesy of 

Mukesh Jangid




In the birthplace of the zipper is where I took my degree,

hemming politics and journalism into a hybrid

curriculum, drawing two disciplines together
into one continuous stream of bullshit papers

cranked out in computer labs at hours when only infomercials

peddling seamless jeans rule the air.


My sophomore self was in need of that silver

fastener, my mustard yellow windbreaker

ugly as sin, flapping as I bound

across campus on a red brick path to perdition.

Once I mashed faces with a boy who studied biology
Who was perhaps allergic to zippers?

He wore elastic waisted sweatpants and hooded sweatshirts.
His affections always hung flimsy, his embrace loosely hooked.


Sturdy oak trees flanked bastions of colonial brick,

Hoods and yellow windbreakers flapped fickle in the wind.

We were only beginning to learn the formula of fit and time

that bosses everyone around.


Now I teach hoodies how to be soft around the bodies

that have been told not to take up space.

Sometimes I watch the throbbing, electric minds

turtle into hoodies as I lecture about mechanics

and how we can make our sentences work

for us.


Sometimes the hoodies begin to unzip themselves,

Get comfortable. We will unburden our pockets now

of all the clips and phillips heads that clutter our sentences--yes!

This will be on the test.



By Kendra Stanton Lee

Kendra Stanton Lee is a writer and professor of humanities in Boston. Her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Pangyrus Literary Magazine and others. She lives at a boarding school with her counselor husband, along with their two children. Follow Kendra on Twitter + Instagram at @kendraspondence, and for more at

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