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Exam Conditions

A swish of thumb-licked papers turning.

Creaks of hard-backed chairs.

Trickled sweat through brain cells burning,

churning brittle wares.

The hall is vast yet airless.

A buzzy house fly roams.

The clash of bangles, careless,

clatter desks devoid of mobile phones.

While children outside squeal at play,

Those inside pray the extra day

spent combing bald spots will suffice

in covering their former vice.

Far too soon, yet tortoise paced,

Pens are down and lids replaced.

Eyes shine bright, yet no-one speaks—

For one brief moment, jocks and geeks

United by submission,

Under exam conditions.

Pen Avey 2022

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