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Published July 13, 2017
"Testing Day" by Elizabeth Mays (Third Place)
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Testing Day

by Elizabeth Mays

The hum of the neon lights softens
the clip clop swish
of District Monitors
in heels and skirts
scribbling furiously on their
as they meander the halls and
peek through windows,
an air of authority and smugness
perched on their
resting bitch faces.

For teachers,
the waiting ekes on while
behind closed doors with tiny windows,
covered by bright pink signs:
“Testing Inside,”
Students fervently bubble and read
and bubble some more.

Graduation and teacher jobs riding
on the success,
or failure,
the focus and determination
or lack thereof
during these five hours.

Class time is traded for a day
of non-intellect
as all the faculty
is summoned to
Guard the halls
and monitor bathrooms,
rigidly enforcing the
five minute time limit,
with one student
and one student only
in the restroom
at a time,
the line of
bladder bursting teenagers
growing by the minute.

And still
pencils scribble on
as eyes begin to droop
and tummies start rumbling,
and instructions read
before 8 A.M.
begin to be forgotten
as lunchtime
rolls on by.

Lunch comes once the test is done,
and not one minute sooner;
anything else would be
an irregularity.

A politician’s made-up word
for the sin of
applied to paper and regulations
instead of human beings
to insulate against
a loss of votes.

Learning lost.
Class-time forsaken.
Original thought and individualism
for a businessman’s
idea of “measureable growth.”
Churning out worker drones
and drop-outs.
Discouraging the bright young minds
that could be great,
and lulling them into a state of

When originality becomes forbidden,
the future is lost.

But I’m just a teacher;
what do I know?

Elizabeth Mays is an English teacher from Texas who likes to stretch her
writing muscles from time to time. Some of her poetry has been published in
the anthology, Poetry Without Borders, where two poems were erroneously
combined into one, but the experience awoke the urge to write even more. At
this time, Elizabeth is currently working on her first novel, The Secrets of
Seashells. You can find samples of her work (as well as the tales of her dating
life) on, and you can follow her on Twitter
@EllaMays, or on Instagram and Snapchat @lazymayse.
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Socially Engaged Poetry Contest #2: Third Place

Testing Day

by Elizabeth Mays
(Houston, Texas, USA)
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