It is altogether too early and I am
altogether without enough coffee to delve
into the idiosyncratic plainspokenness
of Mark Halliday’s metaphors. It’s Monday
and I’m still Sunday, still pondering
how the Cleveland Browns could lose
thirty games in a row and the charms
of my sister’s new Havanese puppy, a ball
of fluff called Flynn. Yet the students
appear to be wide-awake, waiting
for me to explain how they are—
in a distant, Turkish sense—“The Students”
of the poem. And it seems they want to be
remembered somehow, even if their hands
can’t draw circles like Da Vinci’s did
and even if they don’t care much
about the eighteenth century at all.
Still, I try—we all agree that circles are
cycles, are life, and something has changed
them since yesterday or high school Mondays
and maybe that thing is love or maybe
a father has died, a grandmother, an aunt.
And because their teacher is tired or
has fallen out of love, the poem remains
there as a piece of paper, a mystery.
Ceren asks Who is Gerry? drawing
sad hearts on her notebook, and I say
I don’t know, but maybe he was you.