92: Test by Jessica Goodfellow

Mrs. Yeager’s handout of college prep vocab words

was meant as an onerous task for a neophyte, a germane lexicon,

but I ascertained first what had been my uncle’s initials: S A T.

I heard no more of the lecture, repeated silently his moniker.

Was this (a) auspicious; (b) ominous; (c) merely benign?


My mother’s only story: how my uncle, between all-

night shifts at the post office and arduous college courses

used to rouse and feed an infant me, his hand to my mouth.

Otherwise, she kept a silence in which I learned ambiguous,

lugubrious, and truncate. Through my uncle’s absence

I memorized doleful, evanescent, and curtailed by heart.


“Choose the best answer from the following.” The sentence suggests

there is a best answer for an empty mouth. Mortality is

(a) conditional; (b) congenital; (c) incompatible; (d) superfluous.

Death is (a) insatiable; (b) inexorable; (c) ineffable; (d) immutable.

I am (a) the niece of no body; (b) death’s little dilettante;

(c) consanguine with hoar frost; (d) kin to white noise.



The author’s work can be found in the volume, Whiteout.

Think about how the poem made you feel. Were you more attracted to the novelty of the poem’s structure, or the depth of the story itself?

May you live out another beautiful poem in the collection of your life today, and we’ll see you again tomorrow.

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