Classical music trickles out of mediocre quality speakers,
barely enough volume to cover the buzzing of the mini fridge.
Behind me, the ghostly limbs of trees,
illuminated orange from fluorescent building lights,
blend with my reflection in the darkened window.
Before me, blue lines checker a pristine white paper,
a mechanical pencil sits ready.
Problems, with their graceful curves and foreign figures,
spread in front of me, black stark against white, and my heart pounds.
The graphite copies a problem down, grey less harsh than black,
and gears begin to click in my head. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch.
against the paper. Little x’s fit in boxes.
A few lines later, and the problem lays unraveled,
torn down, vanquished, and conquered.
I breathe a sigh of relief,
and the knot in my stomach releases its hold on my nerves,
just a touch.