Alison Luterman
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Winter; streets of ice and ash, and the teachers of my youth,
them and their words, the dizzying never-stopping conversations.
The men teachers, (they were all men), the tender intellectuals,
(man wearing wedding ring, girl with naked fingers),
smelling of cigarettes, chalk-dust, and sweat.
The waitress served without checking I.D.
Sometimes they fumbled clumsily, after female students—
and we drank them, like large foamy beers,
(our skirts and boots; buttoned blouses, bitten nails),
To us they were demi-gods in patched sweaters,
arguing passionately for or against Henry James.
They were children—though we didn't know that then.
They were clumsy (though they had done this before),
because in the other world, the "real" world of money
(steel and concrete, banks, promotions, bonuses, laws),
poetry counted for less than the grass,
less than the ticket he'd find on his windshield,
(stumbling back out onto the street, cotton-mouthed, after hours).