By Thomas Page

The closest thing to silence echoes through the room.

The lesson plans of other teachers bleed in through the walls

Like a gushing wound by a riverbed

To set the stage of unease.

The occasional flip of paper

Or the clawing of an eraser

Work in syncopation led by no conductor.

Does murder cry out in the night or does it protest too much

In the worries of students trying to memorize Webster’s spellings of the Greeks and Romans.

And what shades of difference do synecdoche and metonymy have under the lamp of a rubric—

Written in red—

The color of low marks branded into the psyche american

That missing means failure

And lost purpose

Like a salmon ensnared in a grizzly’s jaw

Bleeding the same red as the teacher’s ink.

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