I insisted on driving you to the test site
not because, as I told you,
this weather would make parking a challenge,
but because I wanted to escort you as far as I could
to the entrance of the high school where,
as I drove off into the gray rain of this January morning,
I could look over my shoulder and watch you walk toward the door,
your pack flung over your shoulder,
your pack full of everything the College Board told you to bring:
An admission ticket and photo ID,
Two #2 pencils,
But you brought other things too:
A creativity no test can measure,
A confidence that you are more than your score,
An assurance that one day tests like this will be obsolete.
You know what obsolete means.
Not because you memorized vocabulary words on flash cards,
but because you read Vladimir Nabokov and David Foster Wallace
You know how to hold two
diametrically opposed ideas in your mind
at the same time:
This test is important.
This test is inconsequential.
You know what inconsequential means.
In a few hours I will be back there, in the parking lot, to pick you up.
Already the rain is easing, the sun breaking through
the gray, formidable sky.