The Professor

By Joshua Mehigan b. 1969 Joshua Mehigan
I get there early and I find a chair.
I squeeze my plastic cup of wine. I nod.
I maladroitly eat a pretzel rod
and second an opinion I don’t share.
I think: whatever else I am, I’m there.
Afterwards, I escape across the quad
into fresh air, alone again, thank god.
Nobody cares. They’re quite right not to care.

I can’t go home. Even my family
is thoroughly contemptuous of me.
I look bad. I’m exactly how I look.
These days I never read, but no one does,
and, anyhow, I proved how smart I was.
Everything I know is from a book.

Source: Poetry (October 2012).


This poem originally appeared in the October 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

October 2012
 Joshua  Mehigan


Poet Joshua Mehigan grew up in upstate New York and earned a BA from Purchase College and an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Influenced by the poetry of Philip Larkin, Jorge Luis Borges, and Edgar Bowers, Mehigan writes intelligent, morally complex lyric poems shaped by a nuanced attention to rhyme and meter. Critic Adam Kirsch praised The Optimist in a review for the New York Sun, observing, “Mr. Mehigan is Frost-like in the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, Jobs & Working, School & Learning, Arts & Sciences, Reading & Books, Social Commentaries, Class

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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