Arm & Hammer
I was just fine,
before you brushed me under a manila folder.
Out of your office,
you came calling, sweeping the campus
for a prospective college student,
a West Quad away.
Re-examined my files,
the zip-lock baggie an RC delivered,
to You, the Director of Admissions,
a stranger, trained to see
all evidence of future performance:
the promise of white granules,
crystalline tropane alkaloid,
that purified extract from the leaves of the Erythroxylum
But it wasnt cocaine in my bag, Mr. Rhettfield;
It was Arm & Hammer baking soda.
I could explain myself better (and one day I will),
how, as a child,
I had a severe allergic reaction
to sodium monofluorophospate,
how toothpaste made my lips swell
to this day.
But Im hungover,
lying in this dormitory lobby,
at renovated wood-paneled floors,
elbows outstretched, cozy recess,
An entrance stairwell to Ivory & Acceptance,
within a criss-cross ceiling beam
Reach for the Sky, and
I already love it here.
But a manila folder opens, and
you stand above me, Mr. Rhettfield,
just above my choking grasp,
you pinch your glasses up a notch and
a bus-station cop waking up the home-dead,
a baton doused in steel-ink,
crossing two ts,
and you sign the order.
You use last names:
We hereby rescind our offer of admissions
to Amherst. Your behavior last night was
Youll have to leave our campus.
Prospective College Student Weekend is no occasion to
discard warm blankets and lunge at a strangers feet,
but Im all out of options,
biceps to legs,
for You, The Director of Admissions,
I am using last names.
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