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KENYON COLLEGE REMEMBERED

Kelly Fordon

 

In Ascension, the morning mist ran rimy fingertips
over the Gothic spires but it wasn't the only thing
passing through us, whole swathes of time too,
and words like fishing hooks sometimes snagged,
toilet paper stuck to our shoes. A dream, a specter's
slow dance, the Peeps believed they could levitate.
Some kid with a beard and poncho put up a teepee
and decided to live in it. We used to watch him
from the bridge over the Kokosing. He holed up
on a tiny island in the middle of the river. I still
don't know how he survived the winter. We might
have called him Sky King, or maybe I made
that up later. In the VI, we wrote on napkins:
What do you want to be doing in five years? 
Thank God we lost the napkins. I was in love with a sot
who etched his name into my futon's frame.
At times I felt fine but it was not my finest moment. 
On Middle Path, the church bells rang. A blonde boy
sat in the front pew. He never looked up, he didn't
live long. I've wandered down this trestle many a night:
the boy I loved kissed someone else.
Sometimes the things that last only last a minute.
The bartender's name was Lynn, but what was the name
of her boyfriend, and how were they related to Craig,
the Deli Guy? I kept running into fools on the hill. 
Carolyn the clicker lady clicked her clicker.
Remember, the nights we got high and airplaned
through the cemetery? Even the angel of death sported
a half smile, or was it a smirk? It was hard to tell in the dark.
Like a snowflake on the water, here today and gone tomorrow.
Raise your glass, Reader, I married that inebriated fop
and may God hold you in the palm of his hand.
We're grown ups now. We walk upright. We make it home
every night. I still don't know him, I've known him forever. 
When you are old and in your bed remember the bench
at Sunset Point, how the sun went down with a wink,
and your friends were with you and you passed the bottle.
You were almost cold but you were fighting it, you
were almost cold but not quite.

 

 

 

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I have been trying to capture my college years for most of my adult life. My husband and I met there, we made life-long friends, the future still felt promising, and aren't those magical moments almost impossible to render? I did my best!