Thursday, April 12, 2018

Day 12: somewhere I have never traveled gladly beyond

I've worked here for thirty years
And so I'm going to find some
Place on campus that I've never
Been with my notepad in hand
To write out what transpires in
My brain if I find such a new

As I set out from my office, I am
Doubtful I will find it, that rare
New thing in a place where I've
Been for so many years so many
Days so many hours, you get the

I speak to a colleague who is
Obviously having a rough day--
I can see it in the way her eyes
Are squinted, in how her mouth
Shapes words before she says them
I ask her if there might be some
Place I've never seen or been or
Experienced, and she lists off a
Variety of spaces I have been and
Seen and experienced.  "What
About the former geocache?"
She says, sweeping her hand
Over her brow.  "It is by where
The old Admin Building was."
"Where?" I say, slightly excited
For newness.  "Down in that
Sunken patio by the Construciton

I had no idea about this geocache
But I have certainly been to that
Patio, but it seems this is it this is
The new. "X marks the spot," she
Continues.  "It was behind two big
Steel beams, but someone took
It."  "Maybe I will find it!" and I
Head east, the great expanse
Of east campus that was so near
The cinderblock old building where
I worked for about twenty five
Of these long years, upstairs in
A hot office with a narrow window
Looking out on gravel and cooing

There are two buildings between here
And there. Booth much the same:
Atlas brick behemouths with few
Doors and fewer windows because
Windows were anathema to learning
In the seventies and eighties, it seems
Both surrounded by grass, one with
Grass and trees.  We don't need trees
I can hear the planner for the other
Even more sterile building say.  But
That's not quite true, because there are
Trees on the other side where the
Former geocache no longer resides
Honey locust that bloom green but
With wafting perfume in early June
As I round the corner to where the
Hidden patio is, I pass a patch of
Green that once was our community
Garden.  It, like the geocache is no

Down the steps, I'm in the sunken
Space.  Office windows on one side
With blinds all shut tight, save one
And its blinds are in tatters across
The window.  The brick is puddled
With the rain we've had off and on
All day, and in the black-earth beds
Huddled up to the just sprouting
Honey locust are tulips, daffodils,
Hyacinths.  I've never noticed the
Flowers before, nor the raspberry
Canes just coming into bloom, nor
The shock of yellow from grape

And there is the X, against the far
Wall where the elevated pathway to
The main floor of the building lofts
I suppose it is meant to hold up the
Walkway, to keep the concrete from
Toppling down, but I'm unsure how
It works, as the crossed steel beams
Are against the concrete abutment.
I walk over to it, reaching my hand
Out, and caress the scratchy, rusted

I reach behind it, where the geocache--
A plastic bottle secreted behind containing
A roll a paper and a pencil for scribling
One's name--is not, and it is not and
Has not been for a year or two my
Colleague who has obviously been
Having a rough say told me.
Feel down along the empty space,
Thinking it may have slipped
But there is no where to slip.  No place
To hide.

So I step back, moving to the edge of
The space and take it all in.  The place
Is not new, but the daffodils are new
And the tulips are new, and the hyacinths
Are new.  The puddles of rain water are
New, and the just sprouting honey locust
Are new, even they have been here even
Longer than I have, they are new and the
Words are new that I'm unscrambling in my

Before I leave, I pick a daffodil for my
Colleague who is obviously having a rough
Day and when I get back to my building,
I stick it to her nameplate on her office

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