Two Years and A Few Hours

This piece is in response to the news that some school mergers will occur, more specifically Junior Colleges. This poem is dedicated the students, teachers, staff and alumni of the affected schools.


The first time I found out I was dyslexic,
I was in denial.
My teacher pulled out my essay,
circled ten words,
all the same
spelt differently,
and asked,
‘Which one is correct?’

It was my A-level year,
and I rushed to get tested
and then rushed my special needs applications.

Suddenly,
two years turned into
two years and a few more hours.

Words still seem to skip up and down my pages
and letters are changing places;
my essays are a playground for
the written language.
It is the chaos of playing catching,
and I am still trying to keep up.

Now, it weaves into my work,
threading the pieces together,
like a jigsaw with no big picture to follow,
and so I see ‘merging’ and read ‘closing’,
I see ‘moving’ and read ‘demolishing’.

I read an article and noticed
they circled a handful of schools
Junior Colleges,
with same syllabi
built differently
and asked,
‘Which ones are correct?’

Soon the place I first found the playground,
I will read as a graveyard. Exhuming footsteps
from repurposed ground is too massive
a feat, but it doesn’t matter. Soon it will be illegal.
Our late nights are over, with
bubble tea and cup noodles,
and coffee stained notes
spread across every reachable surface.

Two years may have turned into
two years and a few more hours,
but it was never after 9pm,
more like reaching early to copy homework,
rushing between lectures,
sleeping between tutorials
and lingering during breaks.

The aunty is chasing us out now,
it’s time to leave the grounds,
she is going to lock the gate,
she sends us all packing home,
holding us to our promises of
play and sleep and dreams,
outside of school.

I used to see ‘lock’ and read ‘safeguard’
but now I see ‘lock’ and read ‘forsaken’.

Creative Commons License
Two years and a few hours by Cheyenne Alexandria Phillips is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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