College, 1996

1996 college0001

In the afternoons I daydream while I clean houses

between morning classes and evening work.

While I clean the windows and vacuum

I pretend the house is mine,

that I own something beautiful,

the prize for all my effort.

College is freedom

from cliques and old pain.

When I walk toward Academic Hall

I drink in the loveliness of blooming campus trees.

As the petals rain down

the nagging dissatisfaction suddenly stirs.

With scholarships I’m set to graduate

with money in the bank,

but my liberal arts classes chafe with worldliness.

The history professor tells lewd stories,

the foreign language professor shows porn,

and one teacher led a shouting match

against Christianity last semester.

Shocked, I said nothing

and burned with shame.

But at the end of class

I stopped the one boy who spoke up,

praising his courage.

He took my hand in his,

thanking me, and his touch

surprised me with its gentleness.

Afraid of more conflict,

I skipped the last two weeks

except for the final exam.

I never saw that boy again.

No matter how hard I ask, seek, and knock

loneliness still haunts.

I dust the family photos,

pretending the handsome dark-haired son is my date,

and we’re going out for pizza tonight.

I pretend he values my beliefs.

He won’t laugh at me

when I tell him I walked out

of an offensive class again.

I hope he will advise

whether it’s wise to stay

or go.

You might also like

Abandonment: a fear that haunts

April 14, 2016

Drops of Jupiter Part 1, Spring 2000

August 23, 2016

Upstairs, 1983

April 9, 2016