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Trigger Warning

We have art in order not to die of the truth.  ―  Friedrich Nietzsche

This spring, as in previous springs
we will have our themes: A young man
will take his mother to bed – then blind
himself with her dress pins when he learns
the truth.

Another mother will die yearning
for her son’s lost youth – ten years in combat
in some hell called Troy, ten more at sea,
a champion of the gods, or a beautifully-
carved chess piece.

In our fifth week, the most promising student
will stop coming to class – uncounted,
unseen. Some of us will look for her
in our dreams. In one, she will wave, relieved,
as she sails away.

In another, she will signal a code – fragments
like shards from an ancient, splintered vase; runes
like self-spun elegies which, as a class, we will read.
A champion of the gods, or a beautifully-
carved chess piece?

In the tenth week, the quietest one will change
his place from Enrolled to Audit – a jockeying
for a Pass on this charted and uncharted
course – or kiss and a roll of the dice.
A look at his source.

The same week a veteran marine will submit
his term’s work – a dense, hard-copy, thoughtful, heap –
then swallow and swallow and swallow and
finally sleep. A champion of the gods, or a
beautifully-carved chess piece?

The rest of us will proceed. Like clockwork,
carillon will ring. Gowns, assemblies, deans.
Swallows will stir the clock tower –
Lazarus-like – and crocuses will flower
on the campus green.


Copyright © 2018  M. B. McLatchey. All rights reserved.
Published in Harpur Palate of Binghamton University, Fall 2018, Vol. 18.1.

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