I know all the answers
But I can’t make myself write them out
I stare at the question paper
Remembering that time is melting away
The clock looms menacingly over me
I don’t make sense to myself
As the ink sprawls across the answer sheet
I look upon myself writing away as if
I am looking at a shadow from a safe distance
I am unravelling slowly, bits of me tearing off at the seams
Fragments of me flying away into space
Hurtling towards nowhere
The dusty windows of the exam hall and the chipped wood of the desk
Tell tales of success and failure but none of them tells me
Of the field of grass swaying
In the pounding twilight and
The wind weaving the little streams together
To form the supple river with my dreams drifting over it, stark dreams that
Smoulder in their cages
Whose keys have been lost somewhere in that exam hall.
I stare at the clock that glowers at me
Like a demon crouching on the wall.
Maliha Iqbal is a high school student from Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh.