“The people are wilting,” he said,
or so my best friend twice has to repeat to me,
over the overwhelming, overlapping voices of our peers.

We sit in so stifling a room with
too many desks, too many students,
and not enough space between.

Our bright cable sweaters and earflap hats
are inappropriate,
so we crack the back wall’s window,
which was meant to guard us from
nature’s thick white snowflakes
for which we dressed to face.

Perhaps it is not the hastily drunk
grande peppermint mocha
that causes my small palms to sweat;
no caffeine buzz transforms
the surrounding sounds into
an unintelligible hum
and prevents me from listening,

as he, in the rolled up blue shirt sleeves,
speaks only four people away from me
about the passion I will only
timidly admit we share.

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