Wandering in apart from the herd,
Unpredictable (dangerous),
Spirited and wild-eyed,
With steady hand,
Outside the lines you go.
Corralled into rows,
Orderly, controlled,
Understanding the boundaries now,
Your hand begins to shake.
First grade eyes welling with tears.
               He’ll adjust in time;
               It’s the most natural thing.
You learn helplessness.
Managed into form;
Artificial accomplishment,
Leaves you wanting more
               stars, stamps, stickers.
You learn what’s important
In single-file efficiency
Through curriculum and test.
The best stamped grade A,
Fit for mass consumption.
The rest, creative and curious,
Spilt on the kill-room floor.

Success conferred upon you
Like a sledgehammer to the brain.