Keegan Lester

We The Panel

The cost of tuition at Washington University in St. Louis is $48,093,
            is the value we must consider in this situation, when deciding
                                                      the agency of a child
born of their mother, speck of human, touching uterine lining,
                                                    a glint of fingernail
            surviving passage into their mother’s hands like a settler promised a life
on another side of a mountain range,

                        learning arrival to be a kind of miracle. We know
why it rains on certain sides of a mountain, which is to say we know the terminology
            rain shadow effect and leeward side. We have awards to prove our knowing.
Miraculous, though is but inconsequential to our liberalness, our brand,

                                         our tuition numbers. Digits can mean so many things these days.
            Why should one fear a naked man’s nakedness? After all, this is the foundation
for all art canon. He’s trying to show you he’s different

                                         than all the others, the only way we’ve taught him
            with his slumping torso’s
                        weight against a door, his body another kind of door, and all doors can be easily broken
with your words, mam. You could have

                                                         passed through him like light
touching flesh, leavening as shadow. We The Panel believe that the complainant
            was in control of her capacities, consenting to the law written
by men who decided a man’s nakedness a metaphor

                        for spring and naiveté, and spring and naiveté a misconception of innocence.
            After all, people are killed all the time during spring and due to people’s naiveté.
We The Panel understand dolphins

                                         in a tank to love their trainers
as more than the fish monger using food deprivation techniques
                                                                and forced breeding tactics
to get more dolphins

                        to jump through hoops of fire.
            We don’t yet understand why some children held captive don’t leave
when a door is left unlocked.

                                         Though we don’t understand, we know these children
are lacking in their ability to be nimble and smart.

                        We’d never invite them into our institution of higher learning.
The soft of the brain is for another department.

                                         The soft has nothing to do with tuition dollars,
                                                                   Based on the proceedings, the complainant
understood this definition of consent

                                         and We The Panel have found the complainant
to be well spoken,

                        thus we are expressing great interest in you
representing our institution on our debate team, where we will feed you
                                                                     and keep you safe within our walls
and let our visitors find glee

                                          in the ways you use your mouth.