Poems and Poetry

Grades, Keeping 2-S | A Poem by J.K. Durick

I remember when grades were posted
on the wall outside the dean’s office

sometimes typed up, others filled in ink
a bit hard to read, always hard to take

just a letter up by our initials or number
alphabetical order was easy to figure out

we knew how we all did, comparison was
built into it, an easy way to measure us

nothing inflated, nothing debated, roll of
the dice, had to roll with the punches

too often we’d limp away, some shaken, in
the late sixties, we still had ‘Nam going on

grades kept us safe or shook us lose, kept us
around, watching a war, fighting off boredom

grades waited outside the dean’s office, land mines
firefights, we learned the words, fearing our turn.

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