Grab the kid in diapers. Test him.
Can he grab a sippy cup at six months?
Test his potty training. Can he navigate
a trike at 3? Send him to reform trike school
until he’s ready, and if he can’t read at 4,
send him to halfwit school or deport him.
Test him in third grade. Test him in fifth grade.
Create the greatest test taker ever. Throw
his imagination to the dogs. Test his foot plant.
Test his smile. Test his smelling habits.
Don’t graduate him if he can’t recite
36 digits of pi, if he can’t invent an algorithm
to shrink a continent, if he can’t determine
sine, cosine and tangent. Don’t let him
walk the planet. If he splits an infinitive,
shirk him back to first grade. Test him at 35.
If he can’t determine what state of matter
a heating curve represents, cash out his pension
and send him to a dungeon. Test him at 60.
Test him at 70 on microeconomics.
Trauma is good. Don’t let his mind wander
for a moment. Test that moment. Don’t let it
drop into a single line of perfection like a sunray
shining on the bells of a foxglove.
John Davis is the author of Gigs and The Reservist. His work has appeared recently in DMQ Review, Iron Horse Literary Reviewand Terrain.org. Now retired, he performs in blues bands.