Construction Paper Owls

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

To fly