“Fall Semester Career Test” by Katie Berger

The principal’s whisper was career tests,
sharp pencils and the perfect darkening
bubbles. There are no wrong answers
or astronauts among us. Brain surgeons
of the future can and should dream
of placing their hands on the warm
ticking insides of a Grand Am.

I thought of shoving pushpins into stolen autumn
eggplants. No one with a garden slept
in this town. The hospital on Halloween
offered to x-ray every last candy corn
for free, and no child escaped
without a vampire cape bandaged
in orange reflective tape.
We were all already
construction workers glowing
through a highway widening
project at sunset. I dulled
the pencils to scantron nothing
and waited for the answer.

 

 

Katie Berger holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Alabama and lives in Nebraska. She is the author of Time Travel: Theory and Practice and Swans, both from Dancing Girl Press, as well as a number of poems, stories, and essays that have appeared or are forthcoming in Cherry Tree, Thimble, The Maynard, and others.

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