Knees never bent

Heels scraping the white paint

We formed a huge marching block

Every person was a unit

Every person was in step.

Perfection is possible, my section leader said.

I took her advice to heart

And made perfection a part of me

But I tried to follow everyone's footsteps

And everyone's strides

But I tried to get in step

And the band director yelled at me.

It was hard to impress anyone.

Another day in rehearsal

A mellphone player stood in front of me

Holding his horn-like instrument

Resting his three fingers on the white valves

As we marched toward the grassy horizon.

Its large bell rim touched the lowest point

Of the sight of the setting sun.

I saw myself in its brass bent reflection

My slender straight back all curved and crooked

I held my flute parallel to the ground

As straight as a the conductor's stick

Never meeting the ground.

The mellophone told a different story

And my flute vaulted against the white yard lines.

Shoes scraped the soggy grass

With my flute to my lips,

I breathed out a very shaky note.

My legs were as sore as the knots

That pulled my shoelaces tight.

Colorful flags swirled at the back of the block

In time and barely out of sync.

The mellophone told a different story

A story of a colorful artful mess

The colorguard's flags tumbled within themselves

In the mellophone's reflection

What a twisted world everything was.

Then I realized

That not everything was perfect

When the people wanted straight,

The universe turned it curvy

Endless miles of colors

Not everything was in step and in sync.

There was no such thing as perfection

It was all in my section leader's mind

I guess it's safe to say that

We live in a parallel universe

Perpendicular to the ground.