Early on, I had a subpoena sensor installed in my brain
that keeps me from including details in emails
that I wouldn’t want to see in the newspaper.
Some of my colleagues must be waiting
for the device to go on sale.
The dean loads administrative issues into a truck,
secures the latch, and bangs on the side
to signal the driver to go. The tires spin in the mud,
the truck lurches back and forth, the rear gate gives way,
and the issues tumble back into a pile.
The speaker has based his talk on statistics
that he doesn’t understand.
The quants in the room shift in their seats,
eyes flashing, licking their chops.
When the speaker finishes, they will pounce.
At one end of the long hallway is a defibrillator
and at the other, a fire extinguisher.
In between, we need dispensers of perseverance, insight,
resilience, humor, clear-headedness, good-heartedness
and all the other emergency supplies for academic life.
There is a certain time at dusk
when the sky softening toward darkness
and the campus buildings lighting up
reach parity of illumination, like the moment
when you know that a former student will soon outshine you.