oh no!

him again.

well then.

what does he do,

i wonder —

annually reinvent himself?

i remember him

from a year ago.

by the time may arrived

i could have told you

the exact pattern of rips

on his jean knees and

the design on the bottoms

of his shoes.

he wore the

same thing

day in

and out.

surprisingly, he never

smelled funny.

at least he still

walks the same way.

slowly, confidently,

as if leading with his shoulders,

at ease with and in command of

the world.

his voice was deep —

in fact, i almost jumped

when first i heard it.

but for all that he was

indelibly stamped

on my brain,

i wasn’t really thinking

of him.

my attention was focused

on the seat

behind me,

where sat a beret-capped

brown-haired boy

i’d known since


we read hopkins

and wilde

and i told him how much

heaney’s bog poems

delighted me.

he was a friendly face

in a sea of strangers.

then he went away

and i don’t see him

in the halls


just the strangers

i’ve memorized.