Scoundrel Time


Schoolchildren wait in seven, six, five, four straight
lines that sway and shimmer as they’re led away
until a winged V arrows south, and they see
the pointed shape of flight from home, an escape—
though they read liberty in motion, not need
for safer ground. Scattering, their small mouths round,
they tessellate the schoolyard, marks on a slate
the last bird wipes clean. Rows reform with a word.
Later, unstrung from their tethers, bodies flung
through air, they chase each other, collide and race
for home, the brief taste of freedom cold as chrome
until the game ends, and they’re called back by name.