Poem #105: “Senior Moment”

Another week without much writing, since I spent it working on the reviews and finals for my classes. I have a little more to do on them this week, and then my prep work for the semester will be done. I’ll still have teaching and grading to do, but it shouldn’t be excessive. (The grading will mostly be during the two weeks after Thanksgiving, when they take their finals.) I should have some time for writing between now and then — if I feel like doing it. I didn’t feel like writing last weekend, which is why I worked on the reviews / exams. Now I’m feeling a bit run-down because of it (and my chronic insomnia), so I probably won’t feel like writing until later in the week — if that. Despite this, I revised the beginning of a story and have a good handle on how I’m going to finish it, and I jotted down a few new ideas. So, when I finally get back to writing, I shouldn’t have too much trouble getting started. Hopefully, that will be on Thursday or Friday, which seems to be the pattern I’ve had over the semester.

In the meantime, I had two brevettes accepted by Whispers…. yesterday. They will probably get published next month. I’ll post an update when they do.

Finally, here is the poem for this week — a much longer one than usual:

Senior Moment

I can’t believe
how long it takes
to find my pool
cue.

Why did I put it
in the closet?

It’s too early—
10:00 am—and
no one I know is in
the pool hall when
I get there.

I play an hour
before my back
starts to hurt.

Half an hour later
there is a dull throb
in my forearm, as if
it’s forgotten some-
thing important.

Maybe it has?

I pocket ball after
ball—the best I’ve
played in ages—and
finally call it quits
after three hours.

The faint, muffled
scent of fresh sweat
stains rises from my
armpits as I reach
out to pay the bill.

My fingers shake
from fatigue, but I
feel refreshed, alive.

On the way home,
something nags at
the nape of my neck,
worrying it like a half-
remembered, half-
forgotten itch, but it
isn’t until I pull into
the driveway and
see the other cars
that it hits me.

I don’t recognize them.

The dorm house is
a different color.

The boys standing
outside throwing the
football back and forth
are so, so young…

I slowly drive by and
pull up to the stop sign.

I grip the steering wheel
so hard my knuckles almost
bleed, and I sit there so long
that one of the boys runs up
to my car and taps on the
passenger’s side window.

I turn with tears seeping
from my eyes, and press
the button to lower it.

“Hey man,” he says
in a way that only
the young can.

“Are you okay?”

My mouth moves a
few times before I fi-
nally say in a soft, even,
empty tone, “I forgot
I was teaching today.”

He has kind eyes, like
a Born-Again striving
so hard to live up to
His new standards.

Before he can say
anything else, I nudge
the gas pedal and my
car creeps away.

I haven’t played pool
since I graduated college
and started teaching—
there wasn’t time.

It’s midday.

I should be
teaching now.

How could I
have forgotten?

I’m only 43.

© 2015, all rights reserved.

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