The School


Illustration by Stephanie Lesdow

Haven’t you told us what to say?
You want us to be mouths
And ears with reaching brains
You want us to be poets;
You want our hearts to sweat,
Die, return from the dead
To show our busy hands
Where the gold is buried
In the next stack of essays
Containing our tired
tongues. You shout
The roll call, gathering all
Of the worthies, the people
Who may not be present, but
Present the most potential
To shovel the coal, tormented
Like slaves for
The expansion of silk pockets
And the contractions
Of our seating area;
The joy in a half day.
Steady the frame, take our picture,
Market the contours
Of our intelligent, educated flesh.