Non-Teaching Day

by Judy Kronenfeld

I drive by a long line of students,
as they labor up the hill to campus
in the rare California rain—
holding umbrellas stiffly in front
of their chests, the way they’d hold
candles in a procession. They advance
singly, not talking, the steady tick
of the rain seeming to quiet them,
and turn their thoughts inward,
and each of them, alcoved in his private
space, achieving the hill’s crest
where I stop at the light,
appears to me briefly dignified
as a figure in high relief,
with book or pen or pastoral staff,
on a cathedral porch. All day,
while I busy myself with my own rounds,
I will think of them flowing inward
and outward to the sound of bells,
their hearts so carefully
contained—like brimming bowls
of guarded water, carried
from a desert well.

— from Juniper Volume 4, Issue 1