On Leaving

For my graduating class

Leave the bricks. Although you wish that you could walk them in other places, other paths, that finding your way from cap and gown to nine-to-five was well-worn and obvious as the route up to the dining hall, it is not. And it is not meant to be. Besides, some freshman will soon need them. So leave them. Leave each tree, but carry in your eye their stunning gold, four years of fall distilled and hung in one glowing corner of your memory. You might take one leaf to help recall the way the russet walk was mirrored in their canopies, but even such a small echo can grow heavy after passing years. So leave the trees. Leave the covers of the books, but keep the shape of each inked word. Collect voices that shaped you, made you breathless with anger, breathless with love; those things you keep. Pack carefully away the look that one professor gave you when you were finally able to believe each good thing they’d told you all along: that this place is your … [Read more...]