© 2001 John Guzlowski

He wasn't even one of my students
Just one of my advisees, a shy fellow
And a slow talker. When he first came in
Two semesters ago, I thought he was slow
In other ways too, but his grades
Have been strong. He's smart enough.

Today, he came to say he's been called up
With the local National Guard unit,
Boys from Mattoon, Neoga, and Tuscola,
Boys from small farms and small towns,
And he was worried about his registration
For classes next semester. Would he be able
To cancel it and get his tuition money back?

I called the registration office. He wasn't
Their first, and I told him what they told me.
You'll need to sign some forms, and cancel
Your housing and then check in with the cashier.
And he thanked me for helping him, but I couldn't
Speak, so I just took his hand in mine, and held it.

John is a Professor of English at Eastern Illinois University.
He can be reached at cfjzg@eiu.edu


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