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A Day at Yale
Suppose I was to write a poem about the songbirds on the trail along Connecticut's Mill River, actually in the trees near Eli Whitney's inventions, or maybe a poem about the elegance of Yale's campus, the way stone and marble create class like in Oxford, England, giving over to secret societies and phrases like "the men of Yale" carved into a rotunda from the Civil War, or a poem about the art and rare books housed in the Beinicke with its marbled windows, so that you know you've entered another world far from the boarded up windows of your mother's home town in southern Illinois. Suppose you said you would like to live here, to drink coffee near interesting looking people staring into computers or books or running off to a tennis game with their new racket. Suppose you'd taken this path, expected the world to open for you, open without a struggle, without want. Suppose you competed with thousands for that one position and gladly accepted it, spent hours with books, dined inside one of those Oxford, England looking cathedral/dorms. Suppose the rest of the world felt wanting when you left, or you ended up living on a boat in Seattle with your two little boys and your Asian husband. Suppose none of this adds up, does not make any perfect equation or lovely poetic lines. Suppose it's just today you get to enjoy the excitement of being in New Haven eating a Thai salad from a truck as you sit on a picnic table looking up at red-hued old Brick Row buildings, towers and turrets, all that Gothic revival. Only today you get to sit in that 18th century past with its mixture of dark and light stones, a beacon of tree-lined elegance. Iron gates and arches. You don't get to move into some gorgeous apartment here and you're not young anymore. You never were smart enough for the work here. Though now you've grown into a mighty curious soul, and you could keep up if you tried. You get to stare at the buildings and the sculptures you admire. But tomorrow you're driving home and there you will have to decide more simple things like how you will pay for your car's new tires. You will know for sure that it was just a day in New Haven. Just a short time among the socially superior, a breed above, a first rate savoir faire, a division that's always been there and always will be.