Middle School

grey desk and chairs lined up.

Courtesy of Jacqui Brown/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).


They’ve gotten my classes     crisscrossed

   sulking here     swallowing the wrong,

      compacted in       the regular classroom.

I belong

   in a seat that calls my name

           not here      in this kingdom of knights

   whose eyes eat me   when my mouth spills out the wrong answer.

Test questions roar       like a lion protecting their kill

   and I know my mind     better than school does.
        Who owns the hands        that placed me here?

Lean into my drift,     my daze in class

      I hum a moth’s melody    in the backseat of the sky

           rolling over ghost braille

carving my name backwards    in unicorn    letters

    I don’t belong here.
               Maybe midpoint.

Maybe hallway,     a twist,     a fostering

      for uncommon minds,     mine,

         to ride short colorful waves   of attention,

meddling with
             magic from time to time.

Oak Morse is a poetry MFA candidate at Warren Wilson College and lives in Houston, Texas, where he teaches creative writing and theatre and leads a youth poetry troupe. His work appears in Black Warrior Review, Obsidian, Tupelo, and Beltway Poetry Quarterly, among others.
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