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The Patricia and Emmett Robinson Prize

Debra A. Daniel

 

Pantomime

In Bogota, they fired
traffic cops, replacing
them with mimes
wearing traditional
striped shirts, suspenders,
black berets.
The mimes took their show
to the road. Cars slowed.
Pedestrians walked
in safe crossings.

One October we hired
a mime to perform
for the fifth graders.
For an hour, no one
spoke, not even the boy
with attention deficit
hyperactive disorder
who had never before
stopped his disruptive
buzzing and blurting.

Like traffic, his word jam
cleared as the silence
of the mime
taught him
to climb a ladder,
to pull a rope, to press
against the walls
of an invisible box.