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College 101

Modern Dance, bodies in rhythm to Van Morrison, Enigma.
Great in History. Strongly encouraged to publish all the
spilling words, heartaches, confusions, anger, dreams, worries.
A magic wand in a pen. Alleviate destruction. The destructive.

Nursing an infant while writing essays, studying dates & names
& practicing steps in the apartment hallway. Be somebody, be
somebody, be somebody, hear the beats, not beatings.

Assistant manager, tired eyes, how to get away quicker. Forget
Teaching, MFA hopes. 2 year program ought to do it. Dance, dance,
Keep dancing. Forget the yelling. The handed-over paychecks. Crazy, unrepentant eyes.

Perfect score on Case Brief. Great comments. Mock trial won. Who’s
Mocking you now? Only Him, Time. You’re pressing & pressing against it, that red clock on the wall. Mother given 2 years, won’t take meds. Elmo keeps smiling & Pampers keep piling. Storybooks & tears. Night terrors. Gotta leave, gotta go, can’t stay.

An artist paints you. You run into his arms on a rain-washed night.
So, this is what being made love to is. You think he must be unreal.
After some time, you deliver yourself instead to demons. Grandmother scolds you for leaving, running, learning LOVE. No one is glad for HAPPY.
Except your mother who says Yes, Him. Say Yes to him. You watch him drive away, miles upon miles out of your life. Things collapse. You see
an old college friend, beautiful, smiling, working for some firm. You

Imagine she will marry a lawyer, or become one. You keep thinking poetry, da-dum da-dum da-dum. Drumbeats & heartbeats & fuck the world is always spinning too fast or too slow.

Years pass. Plans unraveled. Maybe a 1 year this time. Appreciate Art, Appreciate Music, your son singing Sinatra with you, how you read from Shakespeare together, whom he calls Shakesbeard. Then you homeschool. He chooses Sylvia Plath from the bookshelf, finds a copy of Anne Sexton’s Collected Poems and brings it home to you, so proud to hand it over. He learns about those women- says “Mama, you won’t ever kill yourself, will you?”

Medicine. Boring. No poetry there, but you make the Dean’s List. You hang your certificate like a rag doll on a coat rack. Everything feels out of place. Hours & hours of studying terminology. All you remember now is Sarco means “flesh.” You stare at your arms & think about it. This makes you remember your RX is due for a refill, as is your life.

-Heather Lenz
March 17, 2016