Everyday concerns and contemplation are always an imperfect mix. I asked students if they'd done the reading (I had my suspicions). Only the vet with a toddler had. Turned out they all—save one, and she got an A--had two or three jobs; there'd been a death in the family, a sick grandpa to care for, and one boy tried to kill himself. Every day Alex told us about his run-ins with the cops: they thought he was breaking into his own house! He had to go to court! No sweet sessions of thought, or days in a rain-drenched garden. In lists and sums and long commutes our lives are taken before they end. Commute my sentences; the short form is for busy folks. The president's words are short, except for adjectives like “beautiful” and “tremendous,” which are reserved for walls. A friend accused of plagiarizing his identity drops off social media. In my bedroom there's a photo of him in the cold San Miguel swimming pool, my kids hanging on his back. I saw Alex the other day, his arm around a girl. I asked how he was. "Good, professor, I'm good."
--24 February 2017