By Tony Hoagland
Sometimes I wish I were still out
on the back porch, drinking jet fuel
with the boys, getting louder and louder
as the empty cans drop out of our paws
like booster rockets falling back to Earth
and we soar up into the summer stars.
Summer. The big sky river rushes overhead,
bearing asteroids and mist, blind fish
and old space suits with skeletons inside.
On Earth, men celebrate their hairiness,
and it is good, a way of letting life
out of the box, uncapping the bottle
to let the effervescence gush
through the narrow, usually constricted neck.
And now the crickets plug in their appliances
in unison, and then the fireflies flash
dots and dashes in the grass, like punctuation
for the labyrinthine, untrue tales of sex
someone is telling in the dark, though
no one really hears. We gaze into the night
as if remembering the bright unbroken planet
we once came from,
to which we will never
be permitted to return.
We are amazed how hurt we are.
We would give anything for what we have.
We spent most of the afternoon at the University of Maryland, which was having a visiting day for high school juniors from the area. I'm not sure they had an accurate head count in advance, but the guests were overflowing the concert hall where the opening remarks took place and all of the events seemed quite packed -- after the opening, we walked with Daniel to a presentation about the engineering school, but he went in with someone he knew from school and we ended up taking Adam to get coffee, then hung out in the atrium of the movie theater where the engineering faculty was speaking. (Ironically, the president of the University of Maryland, an engineering professor, was announcing his retirement while we were visiting the campus.)
We got lunch for the kids in the student union building, which has a food court, a co-op, a full-service restaurant, and a coffee shop. The University book store in that building is a Barnes & Noble, with a huge selection of sportswear by Under Armour which was founded by a UMD graduate, so we stopped in there too before going to the general open house with information about various programs (honors scholars, housing, financial aid, dining services, study abroad, etc.) -- it had begun to snow by then, so we collected our things and drove home around the beltway in a very pretty full snowstorm, though it was above freezing so thankfully the snow didn't stick.
University of Maryland mascot Testudo greets prospective students.
It was a cold, snowy day...
...but after being welcomed in the performing arts center...
...we spent most of it in the student union.
Glass beds in the art gallery...
...and a mural in the bookstore with prominent alumni including Jim Henson.
It was snowing again by the time we left.
Paul made Buddha's Delight for the Chinese New Year, then we watched the pairs long program (and I'm with Scott Hamilton, I wish skaters would do what they can do well instead of trying to get higher scores and falling all over the place -- I haven't been much interested in skating since the scoring overhaul, and I don't really feel like it's much less fixed, either). Tomorrow the kids have a two-hour delay for school because there's still so much snow, but they didn't dare not open...we may have another storm on Friday!