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Dot Your i's and Cross Your t's

/ Sanjana Dhamankar

Poetry — 1 min reading time


Tamed hair made free by a wildflower crown,

Polished shoes splattered with sea spray,

Ice-cream-stained uniform sombre and brown,

Veiled eyes shining like summer days.

Do not ask for names; we’ll just call her A,

Just like The Academy did.

“The grade will speak for you anyway.”

That was the logic by which she lived.


“Now dot your i’s and cross your t’s!”

“There are no do-overs in reality!”

“Single-minded focus—that’s the key!”

“Leave it alone; don’t question me!

“Now dot your i’s and cross your t’s!”

“And blindly trust my authority!”

“Stability, security, respectability!”

“You don’t just get this stuff for free!”


The rules were routine, comfort, peace even,

So she followed them to the extreme,

To have something real to believe in,

To escape her foolish childhood dreams.

They had space adventures and laser beams,

And kind dragons and lost caverns.

They had treasure chests bursting at the seams,

And pegasi and fairy taverns.


But would dreams get her a real job?

It’s not like they would pay her rent,

So she squashed them down without a sob,

And chose to settle for the torment,

The frustration, the sheer discontent,

Of untold stories fighting in her mind,

Of wonder replaced by bitter laments.

That was her fate, and she was resigned.


She’d made her choice all those years ago,

When the Academy had taken her in,

She would survive the system and quickly grow,

She would fight hard and always win,

Her dreams were joy, magic, comfort even,

They never truly went away,

They sulked and thrashed and cried within,

Even through her proud graduation day.


Thus, into the world went dear little A,

A shell of success and broken dreams,

Robotically remembering, every day,

To dot her i’s and cross her t’s.

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