Between my finger and my thumb, the squat pen rests. “Snug as a gun.”
“What?!” The cosmetically composed woman a table away eyes my scarred surface, the irrepressible stains that forever remain. She doesn’t look at the stack of poetry or the notebook before me. Only me. The untenable me.
“Sorry, just about to do some digging.” I thump my pen on Heaney’s Death of a Naturalist that was buried on the shelf behind me. Her eyes are too narrowly drawn to notice.
As she shakes in her seat, I rise from mine. I’ll have to find better turf today.
*The first paragraph is the excerpted beginning of Seamus Heaney’s poem, “Digging,” from the collection referenced within the story. One of my professors once mentioned that I write similarly to Heaney and that I should study him. (Aside from teaching my poetry courses, he also instructed the Irish Literature class, which might explain why he used such a reference.) My conversations with that professor (often after class) were probably the most influential moments of my undergraduate experience, and I remain grateful even now. (PLEA TO TEACHERS: Support your students beyond the necessary material!)
Anyway, I graciously await your criticisms.