You hasten to campus just after first.
Tardies sidle indoors like roaches under stoves.
Each room is the first cupboard you search
that never has what you’re looking for
an assortment of small details that
never get sorted, the wrong screwdriver
and creased baggie of nails, some hard candy
and sundry batteries that might still be good
but probably you’ll never find out.
There is an answer to every question
and if you get it wrong, if you haven’t
got it right, it will get you. And you. And you.
When here you are sitting in the throes of a math
room that’s supposed to be a science room
and there aren’t enough desks when everyone is present
imprisoned by the absolutely absurd facticity
of a world you had no hand in making,
yet it was made precisely for you and is
too far along for you or anyone else
to remember if the premise was true or not—
then every act becomes an understanding of the world
including yours. And yours. And yours.
When fumbled between kindly, fearful teachers
whose passion is fecund as spring
and likewise must wilt perennially—
everyone told them to do what they loved
and also not to fuck with their kid’s grade—
then the bleary-eyed and disillusioned must
bring up the next generation, offered up
as a sacrifice for you. And you. And you.
When children unhinged by their appetites
whet their teeth upon that restless captivity
made bloodthirsty with our fables—kids have
always been the best audience for storytelling
we feed it to them the same as mother’s milk—
then everyone must drink of it the same
and must be made to suffer great things.
So too must you. And you. And you.
When hope is the hope of joining the workforce
and having a child you can hit someday too
when you don’t know what the answer is,
there becomes something Orwellian about
motivational posters, solemn and catechized
headlines from the ministry in loud print—
You are your only limit, and hard work plus
a good attitude equals success—the irony
of their authority still unresolved as your
last thought folds in on you. And you. And you.