Deborah Vatcher

by Best Poem

Final Exam

A ticker-tape of Greek letters, equations,
Bayes’ Theorem, conditional probabilities,
runs just under my vision
like the crawl on Fox news;
is it cheating if I can see it
when I glance out the window
and the sun glints across my eyes?
I never asked for the answers to startle me this way…
The professor takes my exam.

I think I’ll have another drink,
and if I finish before you, bartender,
give me three cents change,
and you with your orange juice
always worried about your health,
but I want the pennies back,
and I’ll catch the next bus on the highway
and run from the strobes
in the night,
I’ll beat them
with my dog pulling me on the big blue leash
dragging me now through the rain
I’ll fall
lose my grip and the dog
and run to the library
but it’s closed
and the formulas I need now
where will I find them?

And the professor
will cut me down from the rope
on the mountain
because I’m that skinny dog
hanging on to my life
clinging to some probability or chance.

Deborah Vatcher attended the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where she received her medical degree in 1986. She has published poetry in several magazines including Fetishes, Urban Dog, the Labrador Quarterly, and upcoming issues of The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, and Gentle Strength Quarterly. She lives in a small town with her husband, two children, four cats, a Labrador retriever, and Pygmy goats.