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.