The Valedictorian


By twelfth grade, the town was a thriving spot for evangelical Christians

And not enough of us took offense to my high school’s valedictorian

Who refused to inspire us, or even affectionately namedrop any of us like the salutatorian did

Instead he simply told us how much he wished we would someday be as pious as he was

Leaving no room for growth or for passage

And while he could easily hand his beliefs to the heathens

He couldn’t make them pray in the way that he did

We turned away from his mythologies

And while his valedictions from sin failed

His valedictions from school were a gift from God.

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Ben Simon


Ben Simon is a poet and writer from San Luis Obispo. Two of his poems, "Multiple Meats" and "Peace Poem," have appeared in the local zine SWAP, and his poem "Stiffness Be Gone" is set to appear in Cal Poly's annual literary anthology Byzantium.

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