May 4, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

AFP photo



Pesach Rotem





Pair of Nipples Invades Florida High School



Sheriff, I think we have a situation down here at the high school.

We’re receiving reports of a nipple being sighted inside a classroom.

Amend that, Sheriff: it’s not one nipple, it’s two.

They seem to be operating as a pair.

And they are not restrained by any brassiere.


Well, no, they are not completely uninhibited.

They are ensconced inside a long-sleeved oversized crew-neck gray T-shirt

But if you look hard enough you can see them poking through

And they are not supposed to do that.


The nipples have been traced to a student.

Female, 17 years old, name of Lizzy Martinez.

She admits to ownership of the nipples

But claims she can’t put them in a brassiere because the brassiere straps hurt her sunburn

So we asked her to stash them in her locker for safe-keeping until the end of the day but she refused.

She says that she and her nipples are



Yes, she is clearly an extremist.


The high-school boys are snickering.

Some of them are ogling.

The word “titillate” has been heard in the hallways.

It’s a real situation, Sheriff.

The dean and the principal are going nuts.

Yes, that’s Dean Violeta Velazquez and Principal Sharon Scarbrough, and they’re both going nuts.

First, they made the kid put on an undershirt underneath the long-sleeved oversized crew-neck gray T-shirt

And you’d think that would solve the problem

But no, the dean said she still saw nipples poking through.


Me, personally, I didn’t see anything,

But then again, I don’t have a Master’s Degree in secondary education

So what do I know about spotting nipples through a double layer of opaque fabric?


Anyway, after that, they marched her into the nurse’s office

And the nurse covered her nipples with Band-Aids.

No, Sheriff, I am not making this up.

Four Band-Aids.

Two on each nipple.

X marks the spot.


No, Sheriff, I am not trying to be funny.

Yes, Sheriff, I appreciate that it’s a serious matter

And that’s why I’m trying to tell you what happened next.

After the nurse put the Band-Aids on the nipples,

The girl put the undershirt back on over the Band-Aids

And then she put the long-sleeved oversized crew-neck gray T-shirt back over the undershirt

And she came out from the nurse’s office

And she was crying.


And then she said something

So strange

And so scary

And so profound

That it sends chills up my spine.

She said,

“If nipples are outlawed, only outlaws will have nipples.”


What do you think of that, Sheriff?




Inspired by https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/17/style/student-bra-nipples-school.html






Pesach Rotem

Pesach Rotem was born and raised in New York and now lives in the village of Yodfat in northern Israel. He received his B.A. from Princeton University and his J.D. from St. John’s University. His poems have been published in more than a dozen literary journals including Chiron Review, Natural Bridge, and Voices Israel.

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