By Jessica Kirzane

By the time they had left

Had I already forgotten

Their names, their faces, 

Even before they had closed

Their windows, put their computers

To sleep, even before they had

Had the chance to

Walk outside into the dim flickers

Of emerging spring sunlight

Through winter’s darkened skies?

They had wondered 

Whether I would think of them

In coming winters when 

Conjugating verbs with

Other students, each molding tongues

Around syllables, moving them across

Other lips, other throats.

They had thought of themselves

Fading away in my mind

Losing ground to those students

Of the perfect present of whom I

Have grown ever fonder.

Though I had told them

That what we had had

Together, our stuttering phrases

Sentence building, grasping toward meaning

Had opened in me, as it always has done

That vulnerable place where

I have reached to match ideas with

Sounds, with people, themselves

Resonating with words and the 

Feelings they have borne.

And so they are unforgettable, 

As am I.  We have had, and having had,

Are still having.