On Silence

In Keeping Still

It was a day like every other
during that period of my life.
A student.
An English student.
I worked.
I studied.
I went to class.
Ever-turning circles.
But no labyrinth because there was no Minotaur at the center.
A spiral of life.

Then the day came.
I entered the classroom.
A teacher that looked a bit like Father Christmas.
Other students.
I sat near the front, to the right.
Chairs full of fellows behind me.
The professor enters
and takes the podium.
He set the paper on the stand.
And he begins.

It is my paper.
The paper I wrote.
Was it my mid-term,
or one in-between the middle and the end?
I had written this paper on Dickens.
These particular words
being read out to the class.
As if they belonged there in the air.
As if I belonged there in the class.

I sat still in my seat.
I kept breathing.
I made no sign of recognition.
I became the paint on the wall.
There, but unseen.
I did not blink my eyes more than normal,
nor less.
I did not sigh,
or look down.
I did not squeeze back into myself.

I was just there.
In the chair.

And when it was over, and the discussion ended,
I rose and left the classroom,
carrying my stillness with me.

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