Love in Graduate School

Love in Graduate School Alexander Moriarty

texts they found they deserve: to love, and to love you. Lightnings
figure on the pages of close type, close on your fingertips. “Close,”
they moan. Their heart’s self-bound to you. Their layers
unfold under a touch of words. It shakes you to your tight-

Move closer to your scholar's mistress. The stuff at her core
cannot hurt you: you have thumbed her through
enough to know her, and vellum’s always more patient for your touch. Tighten
your plates round you: diagrams writ in lightnings,
errata of stars' orbits, an armor in twelve-point type. Layers,
pages, God protect you. She is not warm but she is safe. Move closer.

Read one close, keep the other closer,
overfill your shelves, core
out your selves and lie that surely texts enough are printed to be fill. Put on layers
of clothes: don’t touch. Don’t talk about it. Deny it, through
more words. Find those they’ll believe. Hide : in texts :: like : a fox :: from : the lightnings
in yourself. Every time you try to speak you tighten

your defenses within fences. The air hangs tight
tonight, immovable, still, close, 
as you. Green sky cut by lightnings,
sudden waters. Laughter from your core,
The rooms we got to laugh in echo through.
We make synecdoche--Barthes, layers

of books shelved next to each other. Rubbing familiar foxed edges. The smell of layers   
on layers of honeysuckle through the square window. Tighten
your mouth around my fingers. Get the pen, melt me through 
when you move closer 
to my shivering body’s core
and write on me, felt-tipped tickling lightnings. 

It is winter, now, and I am far from you. Yellow lights  
flicker in the pure cold; the layers  
of pines drip from their branches. At my core  
there is still somewhere an autumn for foxes, still somewhere a sometime girl tight- 
wrapped in cloth and ribbon, hunting poems down the close
and up the slopes of words, heart-shot text-shot through. 

This text’s core is shot with lightnings,
flickering through the patient layers
of a scholar’s tight-bound type. Read closer.

Alexander Moriarty’s short fiction and poetry have appeared in The Moment of Change anthology, Goblin Fruit, Scheherezade’s Bequest, Jabberwocky 2, Not One of Us, Place/Time, Sirenia Digest, and in the collection A Field Guide to Surreal Botany by Two Cranes Press. When they are not gardening, coding, cooking, gaming, or reading, they enjoy training their cat. Their website is They currently live near Boston, Massachusetts.

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