An Ode to the Timed Essay
The percussive punching of laptop keys.
The delicate surgery of longhand composition—
in each student’s hand, a pencil/scalpel.
Stares around the room—
concentrated, eyes narrowed;
distant, unseeing from exhaustion;
bug-eyed, eyebrows raised: that’s frustration.
Silent yawns become watery eyes.
Sneezes muffled in arm crooks.
Deep breaths sucked in
then forced out through sealed lips (bangs fluttering).
Legs kick beneath the table—
they want to be anywhere but here.