Loic Sangwa
Loic Sangwa is a member of the Class of 2023.

Seated authority figure with crossed arms and wearing a mask, Zapotec, Mexico, c. 600 to 900 CE, Ceramic, 10.5 cm (H) x 11.1 cm (W), The Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum, Gift of John A. Stokes, Jr., 2003.36.

Poet’s Statement

My poem is about the sculpture depicting an elder in the Ancient Americas display. The display describes the surreal style the Aztecs used in their sculptures. They exaggerated certain features of their subject based on their perception. My poem aims to recreate the exaggeration of an authority figure from the perspective of a student in trouble.


Standing there, unworthy

Before its clean cave, you’re dirty

Driving winds blow from inside

Their force make you want to hide

The cave is tall, and you are small

Inside, it is mighty; you are tiny


The time is now to visit it

The thoughts to move escape your wit

One step taken; the ground seems to crumble

Another one makes you almost tumble

You struggle to reach the mouth; things are about to go south

You broke the rule; face your consequence, even if cruel


From the cave smoke departs

Beating rapidly, your heart starts

The heat, the silence, the smell

You wish you could go back; this feels like hell

Before you its imposing figure looms; you sense your impending doom

Its menacing frown, its claws ready to turn you upside down


Alas, you accept your end in solace; your life shall perish here, in the principal’s office