Hillary Keel

Faculty Meeting, 1:30 p.m.

Late. Eyes look up. I want to explain
tardiness, the problem with the E train.
I want to explain the December light.
I want them to see. Eyes look up
and to the side. A head turns, glances
sideways or diagonal, an Isosceles
triangle, or elongated rectangle.

My tardiness means nothing. Light
of December afternoon shines through
windows at top of room, above our
heads. Talk of numbers, projections
to future, a circular arc to Christmas
plans and we say, “hi” and “bye”—
a colleague grabs my arm, two or
three times, suggests we take the train
together. We’re on the 6 to 28th Street
then above ground in a shop of Indian
spices and copper dishes, grains, and incense.

Outdoors the avenues cast rays of winter light.

I hike up 22nd from Park, each avenue
a new shade of sun glares through haze
with gossip of marriage and families,
the light is silver, the leaves, some still
golden, people between lunch and their
afternoon coffee, knowing the linear
trajectory in golden and silver,
the brisk air and curve of tires,
an opalescence, knowing
I am here.

Three p.m. light of children’s squeals,
the haunting call of swing set
and car horn ripples the air,
crackle of back door squirrel
and light on floorboards.

Out back the Saturday night Christmas
tree stands on the wall, bought after drinks
and a comedy show on 23rd Street, after kissing
outside the Comedy Club, how you ran off like
an Iron Hans or a Cinderella; I bought that tree
afterwards on 8th Avenue, out of giddiness,
to remember you.

Hillary Keel is a daughter of New York State and has lived half a lifetime in Europe. When not teaching German and the German Fairy Tale, she spends her time obsessing over the Dutch Golden Age painter Johannes Vermeer. Her practices are in poetry, translation, hypnosis, and channeling.