Poetry: Cases on campus

What you say you’ve been waiting for.

A break from studying.

A reprieve from your exams.

An excuse from finishing


your term papers. To go home.

But not this early.

All you’ve come to know

canceled. Postponed. Rescheduled.


So many ways to say you’ll have to

keep things to yourself.

For a while.

Who knows how long?


Not demonstrate it, now,

to an on-line professor.

Not pull a week of all-nighters.

Not ask your roommate,


who’s already left for the airport,

to be your proofreader.

Which you’ll have to do

for yourself —


the last man out on your floor

this semester. Or woman.

Pronouns being what they are.

The history of which you studied.


Before there was a test for it.

Before you had to decide how

you wanted to be designated.

How you wanted to answer


the question. Think on it.

Before anyone tested positive.

Before you had to pack your room

of holiday suitcases.

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