by Armen Davoudian

In my all-boys school they’re all dumber than me.
I sit in the back and read André Gide
inside The Elements of Chemistry.
I draw a naked girl with pointy breasts
for my classmates, who fold her into a plane
and fly it across the room. For the midterm,
I make a cheatsheet in Armenian 
which our Persian teachers cannot read.

When the others leave, I stay with a friend to study.
Behind the stacks, he unbuttons his uniform
and then lies down. Leaning over his body		
like Ali Baba over the thieves’ treasure,
I copy out the answers on his chest
with what I know even then is too much pleasure.

Co-winner of the 2021 Poetry International Prize
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