It only took a matter of minutes

to sniff out my identity.


An underdog’s sense of smell

is quite keen, after all.


With my nose to the ground,

I follow the scent

that leads me to the feet of 

the silver-haired woman

who has been in the classroom

for too many years

without really teaching.


And I whimper, at her feet,

with my head between my legs.




And she scolds me.

I do not do the tricks

she asks me to do.

I do not obey.


I do not fit into a scientific equation

into an academic mold

into a curriculum.

I am taught to solve for X

but instead I wrote a poem

about how X got stuck into this

equation in the first place,

how he ran away from home

and how he misses his mother.


With a look of disapproval

in her eyes and a coffee breath sigh,

my teacher straps a muzzle around my mouth

and says, “NO.”


And I wimper and whine and cower.


Until I realize a muzzle

might silence my voice

but it can not silence my thoughts.


So I will think.

And I will hope.

And I will imagine the day when I can unlatch

this muzzle from my mouth and bark and howl

and bear my teeth

and rip off my underdog cape.


Additional Resources

Get AI Feedback on your poem

Interested in feedback on your poem? Try our AI Feedback tool.


If You Need Support

If you ever need help or support, we trust CrisisTextline.org for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741