MME Science: 50 minutes

pacing through a field of adolescent flowers
silk blue, green cotton, black hoods

I pass through the fragrance

of strange homes I’ve never seen
teenage perfume
government subsidized breakfast
the involuntary aromatic clothes of kids whose parents chain-smoke

I am checking for number 2 pencils

faces are heavy, wilting but propped up with mostly innocent hands
groggy half-torsos curled over the array of light blue bubbles yet
to be filled

From the back of the field, I sip my warm coffee gazing

planted on unfolded brown aluminum, carefully plotted in neat numbered rows
across cold morning tile, huddled in their coats,
little mushrooms forced to bathe in the incessant florescent light
as they pass through the Standardized Gate of Growth

The High Stakes Testing of the Crop (with no illegal calculators)
The Numbers here determine

headlines and funding
jobs and futures
minutes and paper

Finally, anxiously reverberating
throughout the room
the monotone voice

“Turn to page 8, Section C
Break the seal
You may begin.”