A single night and the noise of rain:

how it amplifies the details

of lost years: the murmur in study
halls, the light that glanced

off waxed wooden floors; the chalky
clouds that rose in frigid air

then sifted down the bannisters
from the felt percussion of

erasers. And the mingled smells
that slicked each humid head tired

from the day’s long schoolroom hours,
the dog-eared books whose spines

and sides we lightly sanded
at year’s end before passing them

on to others— The dictionaries
that held more than we would ever

know, the old Mercator maps we pulled
like shades to cover the dark

green surface of the board—
And we could point, reciting names

of continents and capitals and seas
that some of us now have crossed.

And some of us have stayed,
and some returned. But none of us

remember exactly when or how we turned,
and, turning, left it all behind.


In response to Via Negativa: Prescription.

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