Higher Education

Major: English
Tell me—
Why, oh why, can't you understand me?
Why, with all the words I own, all the words I know,
I cannot touch you, but I feel your sticks and stones.
Is anyone out there, can anyone hear me?
I will make you, make you listen to me.
Teach me how to tell you who I am.
A word, then a word, then a word, then a word
This is a picture of me.

Major: Psychology
Tell me—
Why did my brother touch me?
Why did he touch me in the middle of the night
and tell me he loved me in the middle of the night
with our parents down the hallway, so that now—
Why did I have to learn that no one comes
when I scream in the middle of the night in a nightmare—
scream like my mother screamed when she threw him out
of the house in the middle of the night.
To the textbook, to the diagnostic handbook, with questions, for answers
To science, for help, for peace,
for rapid eye movement in the middle of the night
What is it in a person that makes them do things like that?
Aggression, modeling, disorder. Maybe this.
Therapy, therapist, psychological fix. Maybe that.

Major: Hospitality Management or Interior Decorating, maybe
Tell me--
What will it take, what do I need to learn to find him and to make him stay?
College was Plan B for me,
because although I knew my parents would make me go anyway,
I really thought I'd be in love by now.
Nothing to do now but wait,
endure the patronizing surprise of my
Harvard, Early Decision, Pre-Law best friend
when I tell her all I want in life is to have children
…and him, and she says, "Oh… Really?"
Nothing left to do but acknowledge quietly,
my dream and her nightmare.
Nothing to do now but wait,
look for him behind every shelf in every library,
consult every fashion magazine sage,
study the business of making him comfortable
and maybe, in the meantime, interior decorate.

Major: Pre-Med
Tell me--
How do you define what courses through our veins,
in long, scientific names?
Aorta, valve, pericardium
thoracic cavity, mediastinum
I'll try and I'll try to memorize every part of the anatomy
Why? More amnesia, another textbook, another cup of coffee.
You know your heart isn't broken,
it can't be.
It's just an ignorant popular expression.
Besides, thanks to modern technology and medical knowledge,
you don't feel with your heart
you feel with your brain.