They tore down the Thoreau cabin.
Soon after Bill left the college to sell
cheese in Walla Walla, crack heads
made the outpost theirs. What startled
our chair as much as its dismantlement
was the number of Bic lighters,
not all of them spent, these
unlit luminaries left purposely
perhaps to mark the trail. It was not
for Denise a transcendental moment.
Though the rest of us were quick
to proffer suitable replacements,
a Poe opium den, a Baudelaire brothel,
the Virginia Woolf water safety camp,
administration, wisely for once,
let the grounds lie fallow.

Now the pandemic has castled us inside,
and our department labors between
Zoom meetings to devise online
alternatives. The writers among us,
galled by the notion of his handlers
expecting Hemingway to maintain
a website we’ve designed, another
for Baldwin, a third for Plath,
refuse to participate.
They believe poets to be people
who talk a lot or else not at all.
The implication is that the rest of us,
reliant on the works writers create,
wallow somewhere in between.
They will not join us on our journey,
our commitment to lifelong learning
never more robust.