On the first day of Philosophy 148, a small girl walked in,
freckled, solemn, cute, whom I liked right off.
Next time, our eyes met and she smiled a little.
I was already in love.
I always tried to arrive before she did so I could watch her
coming through the doorway, each time loving her more.
She began to look at me, too, hoping for a word, I suppose,
but when our eyes met mine would drop.
Once I heard her ask someone for a pencil.
I passed mine back without turning or speaking.
Spring came and we saw each other on campus
open-throated, wordless, everywhere.
On the last day of exam week I was reading at the far end
of the Philosophy Library. Not a soul there but the librarian.
Dust in the sunbeams. End of college.
The door opened. It was my girl. I looked down.
In all that empty library she came to my side,
to the very next chair. Sweet springtime love.
Lovely last chance first love.
I could have taken her by the hand and walked the whole 60 blocks
to the piers right onto a steamer to France or somewhere,
but I said nothing and after a while got up and walked out into middle age.