I got ready for all this – did the required reading,
took notes, underlined and highlighted,
searched the library and the internet, listened
carefully, prepared and reviewed, stayed up
nights going over things, did everything possible,
But here I am stuck on the first question. Not only
do I not know the answer, I don’t even understand
the question, the terms and phrasing throw me,
seem all wrong, an unanswerable what and why;
and the others, I’ve looked ahead, seem the same.
I’m in the wrong room, took a wrong turn along
the way, settled in too quickly without looking
around, took the first place open before looking
for familiar faces, took whatever they handed me,
and sat down and just began.
I studied all the wrong things, took the wrong things seriously,
spent hours puzzling. I can hear people around me
breathing, one is jiggling his foot, someone is tapping
a pen to an irregular beat to my time here,
this blank, the pay back for my inattention to detail.