100/365: Typing Lessons

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The typing class took place in a windowless firetrap
that thrummed with the heft of 31 electric typewriters,
each on a table warmed by a machine's motor
held aloft on a chassis of die-cast metal and rubber feet.
Letters marched out in timely precision
over the tock of a metronome she wound on her desk.
AA BB CC DD EE FF GG,
heel turn,
Circle your errors, and pass your sheets forward.
Roll a new sheet, and wait for the metronome.
Cheap practice paper rolled through the carriages,
its loose fibres hammered upward with each key strike,
dropping dust to the typebars.
We pounded out pangrams
to the stamp of the instructor's voice:
A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog
— return! —
A very bad quack might jinx zippy fowls
— return! —
Fix problem quickly with galvanized jets
— return! —
while we inched shoulder-width feet closer in protest
and sneaked cafeteria muffins in pockets,
nibbling between drills.

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