It seems my math class kills his joy.
He tucks his chin as he enters.
He’s a quiet boy.
He doesn’t try, just sits, uncoiling
lanky limbs. He won’t experiment
with polygons or graph a trapezoid.
“Math Class in Your Country” – he’d avoid
that essay choice, I was sure. One fluent
paragraph for a B. He’s such a quiet boy
that when he turned in a whole page, I rejoiced.
Then his words humbled my impertinence.
My math class didn’t kill his joy.
The Taliban came to his school with toys,
then laid out his teachers dead-center,
dead; he survived by being a quiet boy.
Sixteen of his teachers’ lives destroyed –
zero survival of dissenters.
There’s the math that killed his joy
and made him a quiet boy.