The thinker

I started writing this poem while pretending to invigilate an exam. After three weeks of invigilating exams, I'm learning the art of observation.

He assumes the position: slouching over the wooden desk, sinking into the black plastic chair.
I place the question paper in front of him.
His eyes blink countless times.
He bites his short, dirty nails
Chews what he can
Before he reads the questions
Searching for the answer
Change the following words into antonyms by using a prefix.
Wrinkles and creases form on his forehead.
His eyes gaze at the blank wall.
His hand rests on his cheek as if to support the heaviness weighing on his heart and mind.
He scratches his head furiously as though he were getting rid of lice
Scratching in the vain hope that the answer will be released from his head and present itself on the answer sheet.
Quick glances at the clock which ticks slowly, reminding him of life, real life, passing by.
The rain outside is constant and creates the background melody to the scribbling pen on paper
Incessant dripping from the drain pipes create the possibility of movement beyond the classroom.
An hour of his life passes by as I watch closely, assuming my position of the diligent gaze.
He stares outside the window searching for more answers.
He purses his lips forming a pink prune where his lips should be.
He flicks his pen impatiently.
He sighs deeply when the question begins with a word he doesn’t understand: Define...
A deep sigh as though exhaling will release the anxiety of not knowing the answer.
Finally, a wry smile of confidence  when he reads an easy question
And he scribbles the answer before it runs away from him.
He squints his eyes, they become smaller with concentration
But then he soon resigns to his ignorance and shrugs his shoulders.
The exam is over.
He rests his head on the table forming a pillow with his arms.
His head is down but the search for more answers continue because the exam isn’t over until time is up or all the questions are answered.
He doodles and I sense he’s thinking about nothing in particular because the hour has been dedicated to thinking about an exam is almost over.


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