“Close the Books” [On the anniversary of my last day of classes in 2007]

“Close the Books”
[On the anniversary of my last day of classes in 2007]

Close the books, put away the notes,
The shipyard’s abandoned; desks and chairs have lost their rows
(The final cleaning crew arrives tonight!) and do you suppose
The office will be closed before the votes
Are in? Inevitable closing calamities. But by the clock
He sees the hours shifting toward the back
Of what was his room these many years; no lack
Of tomes and final papers, calculations, ever marking; the dry dock’s
There and oddly placed, order impertinent, his ship’s put in to port
And not a scintilla too soon, the wetted finger held aloft with storms
Approaching and heat stroke looming in the warmer
June-filled many-papered halls of what’s left in halls of lockers. Sort
The last class’s fillings, his room no longer root canals in light
And lighter proverbs of an erstwhile life; the tunnel’s end: his silent night.

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