Behind a secret, humid classroom
on a hot day in June,
a secret group is meeting.
‘The time has come,”
the elders say,
“to open the ancient safe again.”
They turn the lock right 31, left 18, right 7
and hope that this time, the lock doesn’t open.
They say that inside it hides a treasure
with teeth the size of skyscrapers
and a deep, dark, secret appetite.
They say it’s on a brainy diet,
like a zombie trying to watch it’s figure
or Hannibal Lector having dinner with Einstein.
Behind the chain link fences and laser mazes
and locker combinations,
they say it will awaken
and it will escape.
The hoard is made from a Frankenstein
of fractals, irregular verbs,
hypotheses, independent reading, ancient times
and days that don’t begin with the letter “S,”
for those are sacred weekends,
safe from the forbidden fruit of school life.
The stories of old are of no help–
they themselves are terrified of the beast:
Jack the Ripper wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot knife
and Sherlock Holmes would think twice
before following the smoke of his opium pipe.
Don’t even mention The Wolf;
he’d be seeing red and think Riding Hood
was chasing him again.
The only gatekeepers to keep the wealth
from running freely are teenage children.
At the end of each school year,
they each take a piece of the treasure home with them.
Maybe they have a hydra toe filled with
the chemistry they’re supposed to know in high school.
Maybe they keep an evil eye,
filled with the anatomy that’s useful outside the bedroom.
Or perhaps they are bold, and hide
the history of Greek Gods inside their minds.
Leaving without fanfare or parade,
they take their humanities and music,
their science and their math
and cram it into overstuffed backpacks
that would hobble a pack-horse.
And though their papers may disintegrate
in the black hole, their notes become faded,
and the straps of their bags break apart
from the weight of dangerous knowledge,
the students will keep their priceless puzzle piece
safe in their minds all summer.
If they’re lucky,
they’ll steal another piece of treasure next year.