Tuesday, April 26, 2011
I'd made the students chapbooks of their work and carried them across campus in my bag. I'd run to the campus grocer's (for grapes and strawberries, cheese and bagel crisps, chips and salsa, carrot cake and chocolate) and then to Kelly Writers House (for platters and for the knife with which I'd eventually slice the tip of my index finger off). It was a muggy day, and my heart was heavy, and in the midst of it all, I stopped right here and took my camera out.
To the left is the building in which I taught my sweet sixteen. To the right is where Amy Gutmann, Penn's president, lives. The smoke in the middle is what interests me. The ephemera. The mystery. Of what gets taught, and what remembered. Of what lives, and lives.
I don't imagine that Amy Gutmann knows who I am. I can't imagine that she could imagine how much I loved her kids. These University of Pennsylvania students who were mine each Tuesday afternoon, who believed in me because (perhaps mostly) I believed in them.
"Don't go anywhere," I told them. Or, "Don't go far."
But does the smoke rise, or does it fall, and can it hold us?
Time will tell.