Study Day

Márgarét, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
           – Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Spring and Fall”

Campus is quiet this morning,
cool. Suddenly lush.
Empty of bodies

which is untrue:
rather, they are hidden away
in library carrels and study rooms
readying for finals

and the construction site across the street
beeps all day long
turning up dirt
forever at work on something

going down, says the elevator
matter of factly

In spring
when green arrives
we say the trees are leaving
in fall, unleaving
which seems wrong:
it is the opposite of how things feel

My father’s muscles
slump softly against his calves
his hair furred like new growth
on apparently dead limbs

Why does he have to be like a tree?
Why does he have to be like something?

Why can’t I just sit under the canopy
observe it
in its various states
of bleakness
and bloom

and my father as well?

going up, says the elevator
in the same voice
neither lift
nor dip

It rises and falls
all day long
on a string

It is an elevator
not my mood

A student stops by, asks
what happens if I get to the beginning
of the last page
and run out of things to say?
Is that okay?

Well, that depends, I reply, on whether
I read your last sentence
and still have questions

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