9 p.m., June 28
A poem by Jacqueline Kudler
- After the name-tag squinting and the quick refills
- of Chablis, after the introductions, the recognitions —
- eighteen-year-old faces peering out from behind
- time’s compromises in the flesh — after the big-
- bosomed hugs, the handshakes, the celebratory
- speeches (only the reasonably self-satisfied
- attend these things),
- I wander out onto the campus quad wondering…
- looking for why I’d come — the grass, the great
- shade trees just as I’d remembered, light lingering
- in the evening sky, loamy fragrances of late May
- rising from my footsteps — exactly the kind of .
- insidious spring I remember running
- away with me each year.
- No wonder I find her seated there on the steps
- of Boylan Hall between classes — it was always
- between classes in May — and the boy sprawled
- beside her is the boy she’d been flirting with
- the better part of freshman year.
- When she looks up from her lap to meet
- his gaze, she notices how his hair curls
- over the rim of his fisherman’s cap,
- and the impulse to reach over and touch
- a small strand springing up just above his
- left ear is so intense, it prickles in my
- fingertips fifty years later.