We’re discussing group projects,
and my mind returns to undergrad.
To a student center,
on a rainy day,
papers splayed on the floor
with my spread legs
and my attention on phone interviews.
Text messages accumulated,
and I missed their persistence.
I grew annoyed,
pulled by focus
and to do lists
and my folded cap and gown
resting under my abdomen.
I missed the event of her death,
and I drew a boundary
that became a wall.
A wall with school.
A war with inattention.
An ear for responsiveness.
A suspicion for overhead lights
that hum in moments of stillness.
I thought about that as I listened for the classroom to hum.
I forget that memory is involuntary,
a muscle that orients to our use of it,
mine well worn,
annotated like my English lit novels.
I lay down my inner self and
tune to my company,
and I receive that there is notable color.
This is not a white space,
though the paint selection distracts.
I have retained the names of all
but two figures,
and none of the professors.
Perhaps because they interest me less,
or just because their attention
is also not on me.
I wait for informed consent to
enter our processes,
and I practice waiting to form opinions.
A few moments make me laugh.
My eyes want to blink,
and then shut,
feeling the call of rem cycles that might help
the stimuli sort and self organize.
So that maybe when I wake,
the memory of school,
or the reality,
might mix with my body calmly.
My walk is not a pace,
because I’m not letting go of energy,
it’s strangely a stroll.
And if it weren’t for the weather
offering distinct meaning,
I might drift away.
Instead, I consider that I might want and not want this experience equally,
and discipline has matured into obedience.