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The Professor

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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)

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

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The Professor

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