Once, Johnny screamed
that he was stuck down
in a well-beyond-healthy relationship
with a young blond teacher.
The authorities that heard
saw straight to him
then through him
“It’s not a man’s problem,
and would actually be a joy
for any smart boy properly oriented
Bookish types were apparently
well-known for their prowess
in spinning tales about wolves
and role-reversals. Probable truth:
Johnny acts out in class, is punished,
then makes a rash decision to get back
at his punisher. If only he’d admit
to his real problem.
“When you find a factual story,
And keep it straight, kid.”
His parents supported him with a stance
of ignorance: one lost in funny pictures,
the other between the lines of romances.
Johnny was left with no choice
but to cut off his own voice
and travel the convenient route back
to and through school, journeying on
until he became a young teacher himself,
encouraging his favorite pupils to stay late
and work hard on their own stories,
sure to elicit laughter
while suspending belief.