In a College Town

Glenda Zumwalt

Up on the hill on the third floor
in a dusty classroom, the young professor
lectures, her hands fly around her face
like small wild birds; they scatter periods,
question marks, and exclamations. She is earnest,
this young woman, and sure as anything. She wants
her class to understand that we can never mean
what we intend to, and if we could, if we
could fix meaning like a butterfly
under glass, we would immediately lose it,
the essence of butterfly being the longing
for flight, then the fluttering of wings
and the musings of breezes.

Her words might not be a puzzle
to the old woman across town, nodding
over an album of curling photographs
nor to the little girl in cowboy boots
dragging a teddy bear and digging worms
with a pointed stick nor to the woman
who turns from a door way and walks
back to her lover, unbuttoning her blouse.

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The 2River View, 1_2 (Winter 1997)