About High-stakes testing in inner-city schools and No Child Left Behind

They know some magic, I am sure

when they pour soft lead into tiny cups.

Always the right one, despite a sea

of never-ending circles, stretching

like a pock-marked road.

Wrong and it turns red.

Wrong and Mrs. Anazula

sighs, puts her hands on her desk.

“It’s alright, mi Pequeñita,

that’s why we take them every year,

to improve.”

But my magic runs out, and

the clock runs fast,

and everyone must stop.

There isn’t a finish line

because no one wins.

They just count up your cups

and frown and drive you to the next road

even when you’re not done.

We are here all day, but only

un momento for so many




Why would he do that?

I splash the lead

in a straight line down

the cups, like mamá

pouring shots.

O, please,


O please.