Sweet smell of a purple elmer’s glue stick,
Construction paper and googly eyes,
And a little boy
Asking why his owl
Is being pushed to the back.
Rows of perfectly constructed brown paper clones,
Each with a hint of personality all their own;
None as mismatched and out of uniform
As the little boy’s; who reads more than he talks
And imagines more than he writes.
Write little boy, write
Why does the owl who looks most likely to fly, sit in the back?
The biggest wings should beat down the wind in the front?
The sharpest beak should lead the dive bomb to prey?
The strongest owl should have friends
When the fifth graders get out of class,
They will jump as high as they can
And rip the art pieces off of the wall
Tearing their half an hour lifespan in two
You’ll see why the strongest owl sits in the back row
Why the strongest owl
Spends recess in the library reading his books
You will see how safe the strongest owl will be
At the top
Free from juvenile destruction
They will call you the six letter f-word
And throw apples at you in the hall
You will find notes in lockers
And hate in words
Words that will try and shake your confidence
They will twist your doubts against you
A slur to slash your joy and wonder
Read your books strongest owl
They can’t hurt you when you’re up so high
You will never have friends
When they think your passion is a joke
And your love is a weakness
But one day, and one day soon
They will be left alone with their insecurities
And you will be left alone