The quiet is quite light, like shafts of sunbeams
Cutting through the dusty hall, falling on the open papers,
Several students shield their eyes as dust begins to settle
On a page not turned in half an hour, and yet the pencil
Frayed from chewing dances in the spotlight too.
It starts so light but grows with weights
As the clock hand echoes round the hall,
Louder than it was before, it’s all that we can hear.
A teacher coughs, then bows her head,
Praying to the ministers, the ones that wrote a paper for
A world of metrics and of goals; if you don’t reach
You’re kicked away, a waste of space until you qualify
To plumb the bathrooms, build the house, cut the hair,
Then you’re needed, once they’ve made your life a living hell.
Before the bell can ring, the students barely raise their eyes,
Crushed with hate and envy for a life they’ll never know.
This hall is just a prison room that’s built from infancy,
The starchy uniform is little more than jailhouse jumpsuits
That we’ll wear, once we’ve signed that job contract,
Bought the house and married someone we don’t know.
It’s a trap, I whisper into nothingness.
Run, you still have time.