Rubric

Do not take anything with you into the examination.
You have limited, but unspecified time to complete it.
The invigilator is not authorised to give any assistance.
Good answers to a few questions are no better
than a large number of fragmentary answers,
but do not be disheartened.
Do the best you can.
Show all steps in your reasoning.

Do not attempt to bribe the examiner.
However, gold and silver vessels,
black cockerels, virgins, palm leaves,
taxes on the just and unjust alike,
repressed sexuality, scourges, massacres of
innocents, burnt offerings (excepting humans,
which come under a different category),
ecstatic states, incense, prostration,
the shaving of hair or its remaining
unscissored, likewise fingernails and foreskins,
are subject to special consideration,
on their individual merits.

Continue until you are told to stop.
If you think you have finished before then,
you are mistaken.
Do not take anything out of the room when you leave.
You will not be permitted to re-enter once you have left.
The examination has already started.
May we take this opportunity of wishing you the best of luck.

You are going to need it.

© Peter Howard

first published in the Blue Nose Poets-of-the-Year Anthology 1996