The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Friday and University of Maryland Orientation

Woman on Twenty-Second Eating Berries
By Stanley Plumly

She's not angry exactly but all business,
eating them right off the tree, with confidence,
the kind that lets her spit out the bad ones
clear of the sidewalk into the street. It's
sunny, though who can tell what she's tasting,
rowan or one of the serviceberries--
the animal at work, so everybody,
save the traffic, keeps a distance. She's picking
clean what the birds have left, and even,
in her hurry, a few dark leaves. In the air
the dusting of exhaust that still turns pennies
green, the way the cloudy surfaces
of things obscure their differences,
like the mock orange or the apple rose that
cracks the paving stone, rooted in the plaza.
No one will say your name, and when you come to
the door no one will know you, a parable
of the afterlife on earth. Poor grapes, poor crabs,
wild black cherry trees, on which some forty-six
or so species of birds have fed, some boy's dead
weight or the tragic summer lightning killing
the seed, how boyish now that hunger
to bring those branches down to scale,
to eat of that which otherwise was waste,
how natural this woman eating berries, how alone.


We spent the entire day, literally dawn till dusk, at the University of Maryland, where Adam was attending the Honors College orientation. We went with him to the big group meeting, then they sent the kids off to one set of panels and the parents to another, plus they fed us lunch which we ate with the mother of one of Adam's friends who is also going to be in the program in the fall. We also walked all over campus so we could see the farm, the creek, and the big central fountain. Then we met Daniel when he finished work for the day and went out for Mexican food with him, leaving Adam for the dorm sleepover which included a chance to use the rec center that has the climbing wall, a selling point for the university!

McKeldin Library at the top of the hill above the fountain in the center of campus.

Adam and two friends from school whom he met at the orientation.

A Fear the Turtle statue I had never seen before -- at one time there were several dozen such decorated statues on campus, and now there are eight.

Here I am with the Kermit the Frog statue, a.k.a. Kertle.

There are also several bronze terrapin statues on campus. I believe the one in front of McKeldin Library is the original, though it might be the one by the stadium (stolen by UVA fans at one point). This one is in the student union.

Here are the orientation students doing some kind of school spirit exercise after lunch.

And here are Daniel and myself at Azteca, which has excellent salsa and cheese enchiladas.

I only saw the World Cup game in bits, since guests can't get onto the university wi-fi so trying to stream ESPN on my phone ate my battery and I could only sneak out to the coffee shop so many times to watch on the big screen. If the US team could not win, at least they got lucky (more than the Nationals could say in their game against the Cubs -- the Orioles won last night in the 12th). When we got home and rescued the cats from their all-day starvation, by which we mean their dishes were still 1/3 full but the food was stale, we watched more Orphan Black -- Rachel uttered what must surely be the series' theme, "Nurture prevails." What will we do two episodes from now when we're all out and have to wait a year?

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