Amo non Latinam,

we whisper

from desk to desk.

I do not love Latin.

Magister stands at the board

in his three-piece suit.

We have a chalkboard

and Magister has chalk

and we have books from

the sixties.

The school doesn't care,

not for this classroom.

We've all heard the school board say

that our class has

'very little practical application' and

that they need to

spend money

on 'useful' rooms.

I shift in my chair,

declining

regia pulchra,

a beautiful palace.

Regia pulchra,

Regiae pulchrae,

Regiae pulchrae,

Regiam pulchram…

Behind me, Anthony,

whose parents forced him

to take this class

and who

always has a glib comment

on the tip of his tongue,

begins to whisper that age old rhyme.

"Latin is a language,

dead as dead can be…"

Magister looks up,

having heard this

traitorous rhyme for years.

"Discipuli et discipulae!"

He warns.

Sarah whispers the next line,

louder.

"It killed the Ancient Romans…"

Old Magister shakes his head,

astounded at how

impatient, fickle schoolchildren

have kept this exact rebellion up

unchanged

for so many years.

He walks out of the room,

muttering something about

getting some more copies of the story of Latona et Niobe.

This is surprisingly common,

especially in the last few minutes of class on Friday,

when we get extremely raucous.

Sasha finishes, slamming shut

his copy of

Latin Via Ovid.

"And now it's killing me!"

Maria begins the less-known second verse.

"All the people dead who spoke it!"

People cap their pens and

look up, laughing and

sympathizing with our protest.

"All the people dead who wrote it!"

Shouts

someone

from the back of the room.

"All the people die who learn it,"

laughs Katie.

The bell rings.

It is seventh hour,

so people run from the room

in a matter of seconds,

leaving only dust and paper scraps behind.

"Blessed death,"

I whisper to

no one

but my sheet full of

verb conjugations and

the declining of nouns.

"They surely earn it."