April 11, 2015

Shaking Hands

So today was a wonderful day. I woke up at 9:00 (all on my own with no alarm clock just because. What kind of a college student am I?) and wrote four pages of a seven page research paper. I then failed at getting breakfast (I'll skip that part of the day. Not being able to access food in the cafeteria because it's so crowded with perspective students was not wonderful) but then I went to read a short story to some of the writing specific possible future students and talk a little bit about my experience at Champlain. 

The talking part wasn't as smooth as it could have been, and half way through I completely blanked on everything and just stared at my professor and shrugged. Anyway, a couple people specifically came to talk to me about the story after. 

Also, I'm totally friends with  the upperclassmen writing students and they're so cool and it's pretty great that I'm a first year and can still sit on a table and laugh with juniors and seniors. Just saying. Champlain is pretty neat. 

Then I came back, lounged on the floor of my room with a few friends as we browsed Pinterest to plan our future hairstyles. (I'm pretty sure I'm going to get a haircut tomorrow and I'm really excited...) 

Then everyone left and I wrote the rest of my paper and then worked on my journalism News Commentary and got a phone call from one of my best friends who had found a poem she wanted to read to me. Michelangelo's, um, something about grapes. It was fantastic. 

Anyway, I then went to an end of semester poetry/story/moth/improv presentation put on by the school's Literary Magazine class I'm part of, and got to spend the rest of my afternoon eating guacamole and listening to some amazing poets. I read that Hole-y Sky poem way back from April 2nd. 

Anyway, I got back just in time to call my sister and talk to her a little bit, and now I'm just crazy excited at the thought of getting to spend my summer with her. Agh! I can't wait!!!

Without further ado, here's a poem about how it feels to read your creative non-fiction to a group of awkward high school wanna be writing students and their uncomfortable, nervous, soon to be empty nest parents.

I clutch the paper tightly
and pound my fists against the wood
to keep my hands from shaking

my words sound foreign
in the crowded air
but I try my best to swallow,
let the words come smoothly
keep the crackle from my voice

I finish and sit quickly
my face red
my hands hot
and try to laugh with someone else
to ease the tension in my chest

when it’s all over
someone comes up
“I liked your story”
his eyes meet mine, familiar
though we’ve never met
“What mission are you with?”

and for some reason I forget
"Latin America World United Mission"
I stammer and bite my lip
He tells me about Wycliffe friends
and I miss Oaxaca

Someone else comes up
“I liked your story”
He says he wants to write fiction
He’s not much of a poet
wants to write screenplays

I let the others talk about filming
and the specifics of each major
and I sit there and feel my face turn pink
and try to keep my hands
from shaking.


  1. real, vivid, focused.
    did you mean prospective students? Wasn't sure why a college student was talking to high schoolers, was this a re-entry retreat? Doesn't matter for the poem, just me wondering since I recognize the context.

  2. Yeah, it was accepted students day so there were a lot of high school seniors touring campus and one of my Professors asked me to present for a group of students interesting in the Writing Major.