Sliver of Change

Parents deliver malleable children

into the hands of teachers

who lead them through long hallways

papered with pictures of the presidents,

flags from around the world,

and personal experiences

recorded in the Tree Ring Project,

and lined with rows of backpacks

decorated with kittens,




that hold pencils,


unfinished worksheets,

forgotten permission slips.

When the bell sounds,

they catapult onto the playground

liberated voices penetrating

the open air

as their small bodies leap and jerk,

twist and run,

and mature just a sliver

inside twenty minutes

before conforming in rows

by classroom number,

their furious energy soon confined

between four walls

to messy splendors

constructed with

butcher paper, paste, and paint.

As paint dries,

they return supplies

learn multiplication tables,

read stories about wild things

each molding them a tiny fraction

before returning them


to waiting parents.

First published in Voice of Eve March 11, 2019