She never seemed to like us.
Toward the semester’s end,
she left typed notes on the classroom door
Out sick. Please read the Woolf.
The small thrill of a class cancelled—
relieved because I hadn’t read, a grin broke
as I walked down green-lawned Grove,
looking forward to a midday beer.
The day we were emailed of her death,
illness or suicide (we were never quite sure),
cruelly “Lay, Lady, Lay” was on classic rock radio
as I drove at dusk to Willow Lawn Mall.
As far from Virginia Woolf as I could do,
I waded into the brightness of Old Navy
where mannequins grinned—I turned
to look at what their cheery wide-eyes
were stuck staring at: a fluorescent light,
a sign marked SWIM—