To "Sparky," At College, Autumn, 1978

Class statuses:  your senior to my junior.
Your hair fell about your face in tight blonde ringlets;

your smile inspired a confirmation of the empathy
that you brought to every conversation.

We attended only one class together:
Professor ___  ___'s exclusive course called
the Eliot seminar; in which, at mid-term,
I suggested that Eliot's wife Vivienne
may have been less of a shrew and more of a Muse,
than accepted scholarship had, to date, allowed.
Something inside him seemed to snap as rage
twisted upon his reddening to crimson face:
and he shouted, depiste his close proximity,
"Shut up, shut up," and the class ended awkwardly.
(This was the first term of my Junior year;
and through the end of my Senior year,
right through the day of graduation,
the hostility was never mitigated.)
On the night of that rather difficult day,

you, Sparky, joined me in the study room,

where no one else was present at that moment.
You said, "I am sorry he said that to you.
"I, too, have wondered about Eliot's wife."
And then, with that empathetic smile,

you slipped your clogs off from

irridescent yellow socks

beneath the cuffs of your baggy, gray lounging pants---
your signature style.  Your socks' soft soles

were grass-stained and pavement-grimed,

suggesting your clogs were off more than on.
And I was almost glad for the professorial rebuke
that brought us to this perfect, private moment.

 

Starward

Author's Notes/Comments: 

This was inspired by georgeschaefer's poem, "Mean Old Spirit Of Poetry."  The incident in my poem is entirely true.  Since the end of my junior year, I have never seen Sparky again.

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