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  • Tessa Ramsden

‘Twas the Night Before Finals


the night before christmas

‘Twas the night before Finals, when all throughout college,

Not a student was stirring, besides cramming their knowledge;

The libraries were full of undergrads and their books,

And anyone who spoke received dirty looks;

The slackers were holed up sweating in their room,

Dreading the many exams and essays that loom;


I had settled into Tippie and was hoping to study,

Though the weather had left me feeling pretty cruddy,

When far down the hall there arose such a bang,

That up from my one-man plastic table I sprang.

Down three flights of stairs I leapt like a frog,

Threw open the wide doors to greet the evening fog.


The nearby lampposts lit the courtyard aglow,

Exposing the small, dirty patches of snow,

When what to my sleep-deprived eyes did appear,

But a portrait come to life in front of me here,

Stepping out from an old VW Bug onto the lawn,

Was a man I knew to be John Pappajohn.


In his hands were balanced boxes: flat, white and square,

And as he smiled at me I could do nothing but stare.

His hair was quite thin, and his glasses askew,

But I had seen his giant portrait enough times that I knew;

He strolled through the door I had left still ajar,

And I followed behind him upstairs to the coffee bar.


After finding my table, he sat with a huff,

Before pulling out a blunt and beginning to puff!

He held out his hand to pass me the joint,

After which I could do nothing but point;

“Listen, I would love to light up with you, buddy,

But in case you hadn’t noticed, I’m trying to study!”


At this he coughed, or maybe it was a laugh,

Took all my papers and tore them right in half.

“Come on, kid, you’re wound up too tight!

Take a break from dead week for a smoke and a bite.”

Then he opened those boxes, and to my surprise,

Each one was full of steaming pizza pies.


“I thought you weren’t that Papa John,” I gasped,

And he gave me a glare that I still have not grasped.

“That doesn’t mean that I can’t have some fun,

Now take a quick break before you get that work done.”

I had never known a ghost could be so damn cool,

So I decided to join him, since I wasn’t a tool.


We ate all the food and we smoked all the weed,

And I found myself paying my assignments no heed.

Then after a while, the ghost rose from his chair,

And gave me a wink that I knew meant, “Take care.”

Down those great stairs he tottered with ease,

Out the large doors, and off into the breeze.


But I heard him exclaim, before he was out of sight– 

“Happy Finals to all, and to all a good night!”

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