It’s been a different kind of season. Summer hasn’t quite decided to be summer. The Earth seems to be recalling its own at a disarming rate. Among them, I learned this weekend, was one of my former students.
Here I go back to Harris Hall surrounded by students wanting to know stuff. Mario has crumpled handwritten assignments—explaining in his nasal voice that he was away with the school chorus when I initially collected them. He needs these grades to pass.
I remember stuff like that—random. I hold on to so many crumpled bits maybe to “pass” times like this.
Peaceful journey, Mario.
This poem was for another former student who passed away a couple of years back.
Staring Into the Sun
I was eighteen once.
We jumped in without testing as if You
could never happen to us. You are eighteen.
Not burgundy scripting white sheet knotted at both ends
black plastic bag of nonsensical jumble crowded between southside somewhere
east end everywhere comma connecting
run-ons that refuse end: periods don’t breathe.
You are eighteen:
sell promises like next time parcel ambition
into expired accounts dress in a desk wrapped around your six feet
comp book under your right arm.
You are eighteen.
Cursiving your name across thighs of pretty girls in chalk
when the teacher isn’t looking. I always look. You are a sticky August morning.
Not 3 second soundbyte comma before the next newsworthy news.
Sticky August morning of breakfast grapes and freshmen:
Ooo-Wee (that’s what they screamed when he long-passed
to You) more chest than
You; same braids; same drawl:
You told him I will not make night of You
even if I have to squint.
You are not the mangle of limbs in a trunk are eighteen: and I
cannot make night of You.