is the crowd. how there was one dining hall and a handful of open hours,
open seats. how on the best days, we would drag chairs
from one long table to one little booth. how it felt like a nursery rhyme,
trying to fit everyone in a corner, and how it was funny. how the food trays
had to rest underneath our seats, everyone’s plates touching
and our silverware kissing.
how dinner was anywhere from thirty minutes to four hours long.
how young the night could feel, even at 10pm.
how the library was a social scene and my room was a crime scene.
how i could ask a friend to come over and he was there
in eight minutes. how my dirty underwear piled up in my closet.
how my thesis research stretched from my desk to my bed. how easy
it was to be alone. how easy it was to be lonely. how i shared
a sunrise with people i could name
or at least recall by face.
is the way the light looked. the way the dark looked. the way i learned to drink
less coffee. the sound of my friend having sex through a wall.
the sound of my friend falling in love through a wall. the warm wet
of someone crying in my neck. the scary myth of ghosts
in the bathroom and in my room. the text messages that blinked at me
early in the morning. the text messages that followed me into my dreams.
the smell of someone on my pillow. my pillow, my old body pillow. my old body.
my hair before i cut it before i cut it before i cut it.
is where we were. the little hill campus of trees and green things that got buried
every winter but peeked out tender and coy every spring. the orange fire leaves
and the dark forest. the dirty carpet stains. the beer bottle window sill.
the laundry room.the first hall i ever lived on. the dim lighting
of the common room. everyone together with separate readings,
separate headphones. everyone doing their own thing. everyone apart.
the california heart artist. the lady wrestler. the dj. the model.
the beautician. the rugby athlete.
in one corner, someone is standing eating her ice cream sundae.
in another, there is television series i can’t watch anymore.
i remember the roof-top adventures, sitting in a car half naked,
wading through wet grass for a meteor shower. if i say it like that, it sounds
like it was all beautiful.
what i miss wasn’t beautiful. in this poem, it will sound gentle and brave.
in my life, it was blinking at a fogged out sky, asking if every bright airplane
was a falling star. it was scary. it was waiting. it was looking outward.
it was the voice in my head. it was the voice next to me.
no, no, honey, you gotta give it time. it’s gonna happen. look over there.
do you see it? focus. don’t blink. don’t miss this.