Today you learned courage
as you slid down the 10th grade
hall to geometry class and back
to the principal’s office to retrieve
your forgotten shoes, the cold
plastic floor burning a hole
through patterned socks.
Today you learned restraint,
to show the sullen, pale face
of teenage nonchalance, to bury
shame behind a care-less shrug
as the bite of that told-you-a-million-
times scolding bore into you.
You have yet to learn about prudence
or planning ahead or rows of shoes
on racks by the front door or why
adults make you feel wrong
when they are right.
But this will teach you
the emptiness of justice,
the absence of your mother’s
charity, faith, and love.
~Pamela L. Taylor © 2013