Anxiety Before Finals

is equivalent to exhaustion afterwards
when trudging back to the dormitories
unaware the original architect rehashed
prison plans so that all the cinerea blocks
are indistinguishable from one another.

You climb and you climb the side stairs
a thousand times and enter the dim halls
and find the third room from the right
and strip in the dark and step in the shower
and lean your forehead on the tile and let
the hot water unknot the muscles of your back.

The water pressure feels different, better.
You smell lavender soap.
You are addled for the time of day
since you studied all night again
and the coffee mixed with energy pills
singes and bubbles up the heartburn.
But this is not your purple sponge,
you don’t use a Loofah or Nair Care
your shaving razor is not round or pink
and you realize your troubling mistake
while wondering if this is just a dream.

Drip out of the bath looking for your clothes,
Turn on the light, one bed empty but one girl
in panties in fetal position wearing sleep mask.
Turn off the light and desperately search
for tennis shoes, for socks, anything, can’t find
underwear, can’t find jeans, can’t find underwear,
cough, snort, all garments are impossibly black and
blanket the floor, these girls are as messy as you are,
these girls are as messy as you are, hyperventilate.

Finally, you feel your thick leather belt buckle and
wrap your jeans around your waist, these oversized
sneakers must be yours, here is a button up shirt,
slip that on fast, no wait, a perfumed blouse constricting,
pull it off fast, the sleeve catches on your wrist, pull on it,
can’t get it off, you can’t get it off, it’s stuck on you.

Keys jangle and insert, the door begins to open.
You jump and push it close, the girl curses, tries again,
push it close, the girl yells at someone named Tiffany,
You hear a muffled “what” behind you with a stirring,
You open the door quickly with your hands apologetically
in front of you, the girl takes one look at her dangling blouse,
the unzipped jeans, one untied shoe, soaked hair, and screams
and screams, she screams, and lights are turned on, women
run out in the hall, gasp, cell phones, camera flashes, gasps,
and all you can say is “I got confused”, all you can say is
“I got confused.”


About Rumrazor

Just a malcontent surviving in Los Angeles, working the news, writing the poetry, making the films.
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2 Responses to Anxiety Before Finals

  1. Eric Lawson says:

    This really takes me back. You captured the college pressure-cooker feeling perfectly.

  2. Ariel Marie says:

    This was more high school finals for me. That is much more of a pressure cooker here than the college or university. I take it the mistake was fictional, unless you went to college much more recently than I thought, given the added horror of the cellphone pictures and recordings. There have been a couple of times I have mistakenly entered a mens room, tho in other situations I unexpectedly ran into men in other bathrooms. Men definitely react far differently to a woman out of place in that setting than women do in the opposite scenario.

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