the absurdity system

rows of circles cut into squares by their teachers
sit in inlined tables in their uniforms
each tucked in until they can only breathe in
enough oxygen to fuel their brains
for the proceeding grueling seven hours

and so we begin
the first step is the insides of your skull
painted to the colors of the lead on your test paper
because then your previously in-class-absorbed knowledge
will contrast from that of this white absurdity against your desk

the second is the clock
not ticking to the tempo that you’re writing at
because your teacher has trained you to be faster
than the clock but you remember that your hands
are your hands and will eventually tire of this
ridiculous rapid movement of muscles
so when your pen runs out of ink
you are more grateful than anything

third you’re done but the intelligence around you
are still brushing their pens against parchment
and when you’re on the ninth page they are still
on the fifth – did you do something wrong
or was the test just a trick of the eye that you can’t see
blinded by every single word the invigilator has said
like “you have sixty minutes remaining on the test”
what does that even mean

and when everyone is finally done your mind shifts
to the reality that you have thirty minutes left
you have to sit like everyone else in this hell space
face the paper of absurdity and think about the things
that had surfaced on the test but you didn’t study because
your focus was on another chapter and you know
the teacher will blame it on you and so will your parents
if your friends could get question twenty-one right
why can’t you

fingers and pens tap out of sync
forest tree-rustlings of paper
and the classic 300-ways-to-sit-during-an-exam
someone coughs and another one sneezes
but it’s not like knowledge about viruses and bacterias
pass through viruses and bacterias but you still
have to learn about them

the system was created with a flaw
and that flaw is meant to be exposed
with the seams torn apart and strings flying all over the place
among papers and breaths / among the dead and the unknown
little do they know no number of trees that they chop down
and print on will ever define us

we calculate uncertain irrationalities to receive a whole number
write essays as long as amendments to receive two-lined remarks
we configure equations only to realize that the system we’re put in
has equated our intelligence to our success in life
hence my failure in this forsaken test means I purely

the invigilator sits in the corner of the room
eyes gloomy like clouds about to rain
every now and then he sits with his torso
fully perpendicular to the chair only to slouch back
showing how disinterested he is in this just as we are
when he gets tired he walks to the end of the room
and back and our twinkling eyeballs follow because
“sir, we cannot wait for the time to be up either”
but he can’t take your paper can he
because no teacher in the right mind would want
a four-page long complaint from the parent of that
one student who was short of that two minutes and forty-five seconds
like that would’ve made any difference
in the system.