To Certain Students
On all the days I shut my door to light,
all the nights I turned my mind from sleep
while snow fell, closing the space between the trees
till dawn ran its iron needle through the east,
in order to read the scribblings of your compeers,
illiterate to what Martian sense they made
and mourning my marginalia’s failure to move them,
you were what drew me from stupor at the new day’s bell.
You with your pink hair and broken heart;
you with your knived smile; you who tried to quit
pre-law for poetry (“my parents would kill me”);
you the Philosopher King; you who saw Orpheus
alone at the bar and got him to follow you home; you
green things whose songs could move the oldest tree to tears.
“To Certain Students” first appeared in The Hudson Review LVI.4 (2004).