Bio Note: If these poems confess some ambivalence about doing what I used to do for a living, I hope it didn’t weigh too heavily on my students at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster Pennsylvania. In retirement, living in New York City, I divide my time between writing and learning to paint.
The End of My Career
The three dead boys came marching up the aisle. —Mark Twain I don’t like the word Career. It’s too much like careen as if, in order to succeed in work of my own, I had to crash down a mountain or roll down a dune. I’ve posted my Letter of Intent to Retire. I’m still waiting for someone to respond. I feel like Tom Sawyer attending his own funeral, The melodeon pipes a poignant tune as I hide in a niche at the rear of the church. I hear the neighbors moan: “She never got it together. What a shame! She would have amounted to something if she hadn’t quit doing what she did…” I wish somebody would tell me what it was!
The Cab Driver Says I Look Like a Teacher
It must be the drab down coat I wear, the hair neither colored nor curled, the eyes tinged with inky quizzes and frown lines as if the driver were a writer and I a character remembering a Freshman girl reciting Verlaine on her last morning in the world—O Marion what have you done?— remembering Borges coming to the campus and the Dean coming to my office saying I had tenure thanking him and thinking nobody will ever make love to me again.
Originally published in The Unknowing Muse (Dos Madres Press, 2014)
©2021 Sarah White
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