Examination

Published online in Pressboard Press and in print in Infinity’s Kitchen.

 

Mr. Kowgier

Examination (  /20)

Name:

 

  1. Match (  /3)
A today the first day of my second year as a teacher
B tomorrow her final day of chemotherapy
C the day before Casual Day

 

  1. Fill in the Blank (  /10)

A room full of teenagers

staring at their reflections

in a wall-sized mirror.

 

Music plays as they practice.

 

Some are synchronized in pairs

reflecting rhyming movements,

laughing when it doesn’t work.

 

Others are alone.

 

Isolating

a part of their body,

the robot shoulder slide.

 

Repeating

a part of a pose alive

in the moment of a motion.

 

Learning

to transform a part

away from the whole.

 

Searching

staring silently at the mirror

 

searching

for a memory in their muscles acting

a part.

 

I stand

in the margins

 

watching

the dance breaking

from the breakdancers.

 

  1. Short Answer (  /0)

For my Homesick Mexican students

weeping in the back of my class

and sitting in the halls.

 

For my teary Nigerian student

who wrote: “I never want to write again,

I do not want to be an author again,

and it is all your fault”.

 

I will write you a story

and sing you a sad

quiet song.

 

l will not say that everything is going to be okay.

You know that already

and it still hurts.

 

So instead the story

and the sad song.

 

One day

a plane

flying somewhere.

 

One day

sitting

hallway

singing

along

alone                                    

quietly

 

“One day

I will grow wings”.

 

I didn’t feel any better                            

but I felt something.

An emptiness

disappearing.

 

3. True or False (  /1)

Staff-room

too early

talking myself awake

too loudly:

 

“What do I have to do? I don’t know. All I know is that I need to take a poop.”

Step around the corner

the Principal sits

reading the paper.

 

Forgotten I’d said hello to him

on the way in. On the way out

he gave me no answer.

 

2. Multiple Choice (  /4)

a) Yesterday

b) worried I was starting to like Paul more than John.

c) Favourite English names chosen by Chinese Students:

d) One and his best friend Zero.

e) Zero’s haiku:

f) Education Good.

g) Education Serious.

h) Educational.

i) Today,

j) Tree came after school.

k) She was crying.

l) Tomorrow

m) we will make space for others

n) like us

o) searching.

p) It was her idea:

q) a place for Poetry and Music.

r) An empty white paper wall hidden in the back Music hallway.

s) Instructions written on a record: take a marker/listen to a song you love/ and let go.

t) The next day

u) it was full.

v) An emptiness disappearing.

w) And in the end

x) remember and ask

y)

 

  1. Word Problem

Explaining death to children. In class today I said that death is dumb and I mimed calling God and complaining. Who am I to complain? Who I am to remain quiet? Who am I to weigh the merits of complaint and complicity?

 

Should I be crying more?

I should be crying more.

 

Using words to break where my body won’t

like the weather

pathetic fallacy

correlation does not equal causation

when it rains I should feel the same as when the sun is shining

when it rains I should feel the same but when I find out someone I love might be dying

I start searching again.

 

I used to think about this during the long bus rides home from school.

Friends, family, gone.

I cried too often in public, in school, as a child.

I know that now.

 

Tree came to me with a confusing idea.

I don’t understand it but I want to believe

life is a place

where these things can happen

if you choose to keep trying.

Life is not just counting the sunny days

before you die

 

you

 

a word always stuck in the middle

a learning teacher teaching learners

passing you by.

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