The Test

by Naila Sheikh


There I sat,
anxiously awaiting the words
whirling in my mind
of last night's revision.
Neatly aligned,
my pen
pencil
and the extra, fine point sharpie
I saved in the drawer, away from small clumsy hands.
Those pesky little creatures,
knew their way to my valuables.
In my topsy-turvy household
this pen carried my burden
to write my thoughts in answers
requiring  proper knowledge
of the eras lectured and taught.
In historic past events
as the professor articulated
the heart's intent is to be drawn
the intellect wants to soak up
storytelling in textbooks
Countries, people, victims and villains
accomplished stature,  conquered nations.

Then and now:

Sufferings, Strategies, Perishing Fallacies
Logical Truths, Lies and Tragedies
Failing or  Flourishing  Economies

The blistering cost of life
Pangs of pain
Lack of remorse
Death among us everywhere
Killer psyches of no conscience

I ask, what is left of us now?
What was to become of us then?

My pen finishes its last sentence
I lean back, in wistful stare
Numbed by minutes ticking
Papers scratching the surface of tables
Sounds of tapping, erasing in frustration
The movement of her leg, unable to standstill
Professor's gaze, roaming and meeting
The strand of my hair falling upon my cheek
Shall I bind it or let it be?

Wish I'd sip my coffee without the slurp
Or eaten the muffin in slow steady motions
As one more minute resides
People untangle limbs, huff and sigh


It is over. We can depart.