The winning entry in The Reckoner’s Year-End Writing Contest

by Jocelyn Grabke

The willow stands as it always had. Only this time the branches were closer to the ground. Bending beneath the weight of the rain
like the student once bent in submission to her teacher.
The leaves gently kiss the earth, stroke the ground.
They trace the tears as they flow down the student’s face.
The roots of the willow calls to each tear, coaxing it, pulling it downwards.
Wait no that’s acceleration due to gravity. Exactly 9.80665 ms-2.
The tree provides little shelter for the children playing catch.
Smiles shining bright despite the ominous weather.
Short stubby legs running swiftly, only to be slowed down by raised roots.
Giggles and shouts of glee are distant
Children and their hidden source of endless energy.
The stitching in the ball creates the perfect imbalance of pressure. The student admires as the different velocities causes the ball to arc creating the ideal curveball.
The arm acting as a third class lever.
No – it doesn’t matter.
The test is over.
There at her feet, crumpled and soaked.
Red ink bleeding through.
A constant reminder of her shortcomings.
She won’t amount to much
Never accomplish her parent’s dreams.
So there she finds herself
Under the bridge
Her friends had built.