Tuition Costs
    Victor Depta

    I'd raised a child, practically
    as if the end were something I'd thought about
    prepared for, worked toward
    when, in fact, I was amazed how little time was left
    what with the ACT, SAT, the mailbox cluttered with
         college ads
    loan forms, tuition costs, room and board
    as if I were packaging her, fully insured
    for Berkeley, Davis, somewhere deliverable to
    and tampered with, probably
    opened like a certified intelligence.
    I'd raised a child
    as if a million million hadn't done the same
    yet it was fresh to me, fragrant as irises
    as the climbing rose on the back porch
    where I kept busy to distract myself
    sawing fretwork, attaching it to the posts
    and painting everything white, white as the roses
    wonderfully unreal, a dream-labor
    old fashioned as the moon in May, delicate
    as she readied to go away.

    --From The Helen Poems
    (Ion Books)

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