I can feel the tension like heat, radiating around him,
Threatening to send off sparks and ignite.
He doesn’t say anything to me, but I know he wants to talk.
I’m not in the mood for other people problems today,
For one more gripe about a difficult paper, an obtuse prof,
A reading or opinion or class that they don’t see the point of.
I’m not in the mood for the discourse of graduate students.
But he’s agitated. So I ask him what’s going on. And he vents.
He has a lot to vent about. This isn’t the discourse of graduate students.
I let him know I relate. I say “it will be okay”
But I regret it because sometimes that’s just not true
And his face tells me that it’s not true.
I tell him I know that.
I tell him he can talk to me if he needs an ear.
I sit down to my work. More people problems come to my ears.
I listen. I nod. I offer assurances. I snark and tease, I smile and laugh.
I’m home now. My problems come to my mind
I pick up my book and push them away,
Because I’m just not in the mood.