I was happily unshod in my pasture,
my mane blowing in the wind,
before kindergarten round-up.
I bucked. I tried to run away,
but they returned me to school every day.
They had no creek.
They had no woods.
They had no blue skies.
They had windows,
that you weren't allowed to look out.
I focused on the ping, ping, ping
of the old wall heater.
I tossed crayon pieces on it
and made me a kaleidoscope.
Afternoon recess brought with it
the smell of freshly cut grass,
the promise of a cool drink
when it was your turn in line,
a snack followed by the smell of diesel fuel.
I liked the diesel fuel fumes.
Diesel fuel meant they were about to let us go.
You could get better grades,
if you'd focus!
You could be a good basketball player,
if you'd focus!
Stop talking to your neighbor,
I'll move you away from your best friend,
if you can't focus!
the frozen burn
when bleachers meet ass,
chafed by stiff denim
as we walked around with friends,
thawed only by the sex
nobody was supposed to be having,
in basements, in attics, in the back of cars.
Graduation day they take you to a field,
tell you you'll never all be together again,
and turn you loose finally,
but it's not the same.
Thirty years later:
Even in the yearbook,
they forced us into boxes.
I study the little faces,
the messy haircuts,
the jack-o-lantern teeth,
the shiny eyes,
before any of them considered
drugs or suicide,
before any of them went through
divorce, disease, death.
But some little hearts still held secrets.
The only thing similar,
the only thing equal,
is the size of the box.
We didn't know these things
before the kindergarten round-up,
so, yes, we've be educated.
We get educated into submission
or sent off to steeper restriction,
but we never again get to be
the wild carefree ponies we were
before the kindergarten round up.
(c) Trinny Sigler 2017