One of the ways my parents were able to send me to a Catholic high school was through a work-study scholarship. This meant that the school assigned me odd jobs in between my classes. My first job involved pumping liquid nacho cheese into portion cups for fellow students waiting in the lunch line. The job I loved most was cleaning the art rooms after school.

I felt, even in that repressed, repressive school with anti-abortion posters in the stairwells and a crucifix above every classroom’s door, that the art wing was a place of immense possibility. Often, there was another work-study student assigned to share duties or my best friend Julia would come along to hang out, but sometimes, I got to be by myself in the art rooms. Putting a CD on, wiping dust off of the tables, sweeping the floor, and checking out other students’ works-in-progress, I felt like a cool girl in a real artist’s studio. …


Freesia McKee

Poet, essayist, performer, teacher. Author of HOW DISTANT THE CITY (Headmistress Press, 2017). Micropublisher. Lover of radio.

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