We’re in primary school art class, where the students have been told to draw a picture of a house.
Francine draws this:
“What’s this?” Missus Portmanteau, Francine’s art teacher, asks, pointing to the big red circle in the sky. “It looks like a big rock is about to fall on your house.”
Francine is nonplussed in the face of a teacher who doesn’t recognize the sun.
“The sun,” Francine explains.
“The sun isn’t that big,” Missus Portmanteau says, and enters a note in her red book.
The following week in art class, Francine draws this:
“Mister Sapidot [science teacher] said the sun spins,” Francine answers.
“Your sun is too big, your house too small.”
Francine feels like the rock has fallen on her house.
“Now what?” Missus Portmanteau asks.
“Someone is taking a nap,” Francine says.
Missus Portmanteau doesn’t say anything, but she makes a firm mark in her red book with a red pen.
It’s the final art class before summer vacation. Francine’s father has promised a special surprise if her report card looks good. This week, she nails the art project.
Francine has learned that to do good in school and please her father she must conform to her teacher’s view of reality.
Chattering swing of ratchet wrench
Hatted on hexed nut box bolt head
Alloy heat threaded hatchet hoax
Treat tears time tender torpid box
Tightly drawn reach of technical
Entity rat tatting chattel
Rat a tach tech teacher hat chat
By the stunned thwacked beach
Or far inland brine dry valleys
Xylophone loops accordingly roll.
Hanging from their necks,
belts, or ties, with photo,
they come from somewhere,
and have some place to go.
She sees them bouncing up and down
the streets, swagging vigor to and fro.
Sometimes they meet and talk,
badge to badge, boar to sow.
She doesn’t get what they say.
Normally, they just proceed,
prancing days, romping nights,
round and round they gambol
through tunnels of sun
sounding golden horns,
steeds indeed, lit up
in glorious gowns a glut.
She had one once, but let go,
repeating the hollow phrase,
preferring not to be badgered,
“And that has made all the difference.”