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online (un)learning

CAS for Database

Janice Lin

Cupertino, CA, USA

Monta Vista High School


pandemic is a dichotomy, a loose page pulled

over the eyes and mouth; open or shut, multiple choice

(inevitable/inescapable) on the glass raised between us

parallel structure (definition?) of the before and after,

hollow    greeting to history living but living is past tense

and future blunder; today is counting up

the ten days in the maw of a month, variable months of

the last year scribbled on the inside of precalculus

textbooks (sin zero is still zero, but csc zero is

a boundless question, mere symbolism) and the ball is plummeting

at nine point eight meters per second per second per law

of motion stalling in the absence of mutual gravitation,

six feet is 110 in binary but the syntax falls flat; a runtime

error (we’re not running, just perpendicular to the floor), ashen

faces nestled in the public static void mainstream fracture

the bones and heart but not the lungs, unscathed mouths swallow


that echo in a       silent          room


"online (un)learning" rests within the "dids" and "did nots." It's all of the things that were forced onto us in that insistent but weary way that made them rush right past before we even realized we were being given anything at all. It is fact and question, some things so concrete, so objective, and the rest flitting by in that listless haze that drifted over 2020 like a cloud. Most of all, "online (un)learning" is too relatable—the poem, the world, is a haze, one thing certain, living in the forefronts of our minds like it is the only thing at all, and everything else in the world is a just faint, fuliginous dream.

Janice Lin is a high school student and poet from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work is published or forthcoming in Paper Crane Journal and the National Poetry Quarterly, and she also edits for some literary magazines. In her free time, she enjoys worldbuilding, theorizing about TV shows, and trying new boba shops with her friends.


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