POEM: law school aubade

BY ROGER PAO

sturdy pillows: a beloved bed: a softness afterwhich the students mourned: an aurora carved its fire-white path through the vertical mid-drift of curtains: the students

straggled upright: such a sunrise marks the commencement of civilization: the prologue for the next thousand years: yawning in their pajamas: a single yawn: a single granule

of winter sand: the students stuffed their casebooks inside backpacks: become Bedouins: become the camels of Bedouins: the half-awake innocence

of morning rush hour passes outside: along asphalt grapevines: each car as insignificant as each grape: unaware of a shovel blade shininess beneath the hothouse sun:

the students splash water onto their foreheads: a blur of time metamorphoses into schedules: into one hour forty minute blocks: each laughter or sorrow

conformed: like a tract house in the suburbs: the students brush their teeth and gums: their minds unmooring: blanking: as if in protest of their intellects: against economies

they conquer page by gilded page: case by historic case: as if to mimic a technocratic ruddinessas glossy as the skin of a genetically modified mango: every arm raised

in class: every professorial interpretation of doctrine: as solitary as combing hair: the students wash out their solemn mouths: stare at their

faces in mirrors: practice expressions:mirrors seldom change: humans can find changes in their faces through mirrors:self-shown horizons: the students put on their

outside clothes: their performances try to beckon after one another: home is gone: elsewhere:now they own a cold-calledserenade: emblazoning the grass with steel

by roger pao

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