Jakarta, January

transformed the poem "Jakarta, January" by Sarah Kay into an animated narrative
Tools: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Draw, Adobe After Effects, 
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Jakarta, January

By Sarah Kay ​

It is the last class of the day, and I am teaching a classroom of 6th graders about poetry, and across town a man walks into a Starbucks and blows himself up, while other men throw grenades in the street, and shoot into a crowd of civilians.

And I am 27 years old, which means I am the only person in this room who was alive when this happened in New York City, and I was in 8th grade, sitting in my classroom for the first class of the day. And I made a joke about how mad everyone was gonna be at the pilot that messed up. And later added how stupid you have to be for it to happen twice.

And the 6th graders are practising listing sensory details, and someone calls out blue skies as a sight that they love, and nobody in this classroom knows what has happened yet. And they do not know that we are in lockdown, which is a word they did not have when I was in 6th grade. And the whole class is laughing, because a boy has called out dog poop as a smell he does not like. And what is a boy if not a glowing thing learning what he can get away with?

And I was once a girl sitting in a classroom on the lucky side of town who did not know what had happened yet. And I did not know electrical fire was a smell I did not like until my whole neighbourhood smelled that way for weeks. And blue skies was a sight I never trusted again. And poetry is what I reached for in the days the ash would not stop falling.

And there is a 6th grade girl inside this class whose father was inside that Starbucks, and she does not know what has happened yet. And what is a girl but a pulsing thing learning what the world will take from her?

And what if I am still a girl, sitting in a classroom on the lucky side of town making a careless joke, looking up at my teacher for some kind of answer? And what if I am also the teacher with no answers looking back at myself? And what is being an adult if not a terrified thing desperate to protect something you cannot save? And how lucky do you have to be for it to miss you twice?

And tomorrow, a 6th grade girl will come to class while her father has the shrapnel pulled from his body. And maybe she will reach for poetry. And the sky outside the classroom is so terribly blue. And the students are quiet, and looking at me, and waiting for a poem, or an answer, or a grown up, or a bell to ring. And the bell rings, and they float up from their seats are tiny ghosts, and are gone.

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