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Portrait of a Student LeaderShe leads a student protest,
protesting a tuition increase,
which one they've lost count, she says;
Raising their angry slogans,
streaked in cadmium red,
JUNK THIS LAW and SCRAP THAT POLICY and NO TO THIS and NO TO THAT,
Cadmium red, in her voice, in her fist.
Here I sit, and paint.
She squints over the exam paper,
Reading through reading glasses,
Challenged and yet confident, knowing she's revised well for this.
Methodically she puts graphite to answer sheet,
Perfect circles all: A, A, A, A, B, A, B, A,
which could describe her grades. (We use another system though.)
Graphite on titanium white,
in orange circles. I can't know her answers,
of course; that would be cheating.
I need to get back to my exam,
and after that, back to my painting.
When I'm done, I'll paint.
She runs with the ball, runs with it,
Over a field, ochre with government neglect,
but forest green with the living rain.
Her feet on the ball, unbroken like a young Maradona,
Midfielders, defenders all a blur,
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