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The School of Dreams


It is an afternoon

With chalk dust in the light.

The dusk is coming soon

And the answer is not right.


The answer is not right

And the bell is going to ring,

And red ink, like a blight,

Has tainted everything:


The leaves upon the trees,

The leaves that fall and rest,

The light, that by degrees,

Is failing in the west,


Everything will burn

With a shade of shame,

Because it is your turn,

Because you hear your name,


And cannot solve for y.

Minutes go to waste,

The slate blank as a sky,

Imperfectly erased.


The bell is going to chime.

There's nothing you can do

But to flip a dime

Between false and true.


The problem still remains

It isn't what you think.

Failure's in your veins,

Red as any ink.


Alicia E. Stallings



Modern Poetry Association.
From Archaic Smile, University of
Evansville Press; originally printed in

Poetry; reprinted by permission of
the author.

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