He sits in sullen silence,
defiance dancing within,
making him twitch, jump in fear
at a raised voice,
a swift movement.

He has taken the last seat in the last row by the window.
He carries no books, no paper, no pen.
He is not averse to learning.
He has passion,
but not for books.
His passion, he tells me,  is playing paintball
and piloting a plane.
He has dreams that take him away
from the reality and necessity of school.

He writes in his journal words I don’t want to read,
how he fears the holidays.
He will see his dad for the first time
since the age of three outside of jail.
His father, imprisoned for a hit-and-run death,
now reentering the life of a boy
already on a path to somewhere without him.

Does he clutch his dreams to him
as the voice in the room drones on,
or does he release them into the air,
defiance lessening at last?

© Barbara Flass  2002

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