Falter

by CARA MCMILLEN - February 12, 2021



One step in,

the room is cold,

the atmosphere aids demoralization,

alludes to degradation.


Four steps in,

the chair is waiting,

for in the next hour,

your soul must be stalled,

sanity must be silenced.


Five minutes in,

eye-contact must be avoided.

God-forbid, she asks you

for an answer

within a circus of cluelessness.


Thirty minutes in,

your desk remains empty

for you were in the hospital all last week,

the late assignments

tossed into your bag with the rest.


The bell rings,

you falter out of the room

hoping not to stay long enough

for her to call your name.


One step in,

the cycle repeats

as it will twice more—

a schedule of torment

designed to produce intellect.

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