In the birthplace of the zipper is where I took my degree,
hemming politics and journalism into a hybrid
curriculum, drawing two disciplines together
into one continuous stream of bullshit papers
cranked out in computer labs at hours when only infomercials
peddling seamless jeans rule the air.
My sophomore self was in need of that silver
fastener, my mustard yellow windbreaker
ugly as sin, flapping as I bound
across campus on a red brick path to perdition.
Once I mashed faces with a boy who studied biology
Who was perhaps allergic to zippers?
He wore elastic waisted sweatpants and hooded sweatshirts.
His affections always hung flimsy, his embrace loosely hooked.
Sturdy oak trees flanked bastions of colonial brick,
Hoods and yellow windbreakers flapped fickle in the wind.
We were only beginning to learn the formula of fit and time
that bosses everyone around.
Now I teach hoodies how to be soft around the bodies
that have been told not to take up space.
Sometimes I watch the throbbing, electric minds
turtle into hoodies as I lecture about mechanics
and how we can make our sentences work
Sometimes the hoodies begin to unzip themselves,
Get comfortable. We will unburden our pockets now
of all the clips and phillips heads that clutter our sentences--yes!
This will be on the test.
By Kendra Stanton Lee
Kendra Stanton Lee is a writer and professor of humanities in Boston. Her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Pangyrus Literary Magazine and others. She lives at a boarding school with her counselor husband, along with their two children. Follow Kendra on Twitter + Instagram at @kendraspondence, and for more at KendraStantonLee.com