Examine the twelve year-old.
Here, if you've lost yours, I have mine held up in my hand
Look at him, the poor guy.
On the edge of his forced adulthood
Still thought of as a kid.

He has been in love a thousand times
Yet he has never loved.
Coupling doesn't exist yet;
it is unheard of in his intermediary life.
Filled up to the brim with animal passions,
But does anybody else in my class feel this way he asks himself.
It is too early to admit to anyone,
for anybody to admit to anybody,
That all the grade 7s yearn all the same as he.
And the grade 6s too, And the grade 5s.

Christ! When is anybody a kid anymore the parents ask.
Well, when they're kids.
But, please!
Don't force a 5er or a 6er or a 7er, or anybody,
to be a kid beyond their child-years.
You risk hurting, killing off the will to live
of the twelve year-old
who feels passionate, desperate love
And is ashamed of it.

Well, then I'll put my twelve year-old away.

--Spring 1996