Student Union, August Sun

Around this room, large as a gymnasium,

couches lie scattered like children’s toys, seats covered

in tangled student bodies and battered blue-gold brocade.


I lean back in high-backed chair, stare through

tall arched windows that stretch to a mottled ceiling

above open French doors. Wrought iron banisters

guard against playful gestures that could send children

tumbling to tufted grass twenty feet below.


Instead these children pose at dusty tables

seeking the keys to tomorrow’s assignments

in trigonometry, chemistry, love and world affairs.


I close my eyes, but sleep in vain as yesterday’s 

breeze knocks on long locked memories with breath that

smells of peppermint gum, unread text books, last night’s sex.


Blinding light shreds my inhibitions and I press

two hands under limbs, stopping the cruel momentum

to reach and caress coarse black hair grazing

an open collar, suppleness of limb and skin,

silken cheeks that have never known a razor.


A young man closes heavy red curtains and their 

color changes to orange as sunlight blazes

through damask. He sits at a grand piano, music

marches across the keys, music matching


the painting behind his head–waves crashing on

an Oregon shore, high rocky cliffs, green water

wild and strong. The notes bending, treacherous, triste,

something I hear and recognize but cannot name.


The young man stops playing, brushes his face

with the back of his hand, stands in front of the guarded window


and Light, through a break in the curtain, slices his body in half.



This is a rewrite of the Student Union poem written last year. I'm using the We Write Poems Prompt #44: Create a Wordle using 10-20 words from the Gordon Lightfoot song, "Don Quixote."

I chose ocean, shore, vain, table, key, black, collar, wild, hear, blaze, sleep, pose, dusty, cruel, tangled, battered, lean, young

To see the Wordle created, go to

To read other poems created using this prompt, go to

The photograph was taken in February, 2005, when my husband, Roger, and I visited the Gates installation in New York City's Central Park.