"Final Exam Administration"
I enter to find all the students in uniform
occupying a small room.
I hand out pencils and registration forms.
Some begin without orders.
I remind them to remain anonymous
no names, just ID numbers should appear
on the waiting pages, white and clean
as unwritten letters or discharges.
Just a number the private
in BCGs and fatigues mumbles
from the back that’s all
we are. A number
and a gun. His comrades laugh,
erasing what might have been.
Do your best I say,
and they settle, salute.
-Remica L. Bingham
Used by permission.
Remica L. Bingham is currently the Competency Coordinator at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, VA. She earned an MFA from Bennington College and is a Cave Canem fellow. Among other journals, her work has been published in New Letters, Callaloo, and Gulf Coast. Her first book,Conversion, won the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award and was published by Lotus Press. A book of her selected poems, The Seams of Memory, will be translated into Arabic and published in 2010 in conjunction with the Kalima Project.
Bingham appeared on the panel Reclamation, Celebration, Renewal, and Resistance: Black Poets Writing on the Natural World during Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness 2010.
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