School

By Daniel Langton

 

I was sent home the first day

with a note: Danny needs a ruler.

My father nodded, nothing seemed so apt.

School is for rules, countries need rulers,

graphs need graphing, the world is straight ahead.

 

It had metrics one side, inches the other.

You could see where it started

and why it stopped, a foot along,

how it ruled the flighty pen,

which petered out sideways when you dreamt.

 

I could have learned a lot,

understood latitude, or the border with Canada,

so stern compared to the South

and its unruly river with two names.

But that first day, meandering home, I dropped it.

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