Late for class. Lost for some time. On a campus I've been wandering for twenty years. Twilight and cold, I remember, outside, between buildings. Without my classmates and a little late. Wrong building, wrong building. The professor told me. Of course, I can't remember. Texting. Getting texts. Where? Texting. Short of breath and breaking a tiny sweat. Yes. Finally, yes, I'm heading the right way. I thought it was in that building. I knew it. Just couldn't remember. Up the cement stairs. Another short set, off-white cement. Up the cement ramp. More like a bridge. Elevated, but not too high. Flowering bushes and people below. Quickly, quickly. Through the metal and glass, over concrete. Automatic doors open to circular space—the lobby, the entryway, stunning. Reading, half reading, frantic to find it, to find it. Up ahead to the left. Yes. Down a short hallway, a doorway. I slip in. There they are: my class, the other students, my professor. The gallery docent, already delivering. Rehearsed and memorized. I've missed it, damn it. Catching my breath, finally, I look around.
Half-darkened space. Near me, angled spotlights. The usual white walls. Over there, a tapestry weaving itself. The colors and exceedingly slow motion, changing. Clumsy towers next, to the left. Digital eyes on screens, taking me to another time. It's a twenty year cycle. Just long enough to defy memory. Back again for the next audience, this ongoing show. Getting all forty-something inside my head. I turn. Those illuminated rods, hanging in a clear grid. My classmates weaving between them, triggering sounds. Distinct quadrants dominate, I'm thinking. Those rods like poles and, once again, I'm near the river. The delta where I grew. Summer nights on our bikes. In front of the half dark. In the dark back of the room, visuals akin to fog horns on a Tule fog night. Slow flickering lights. Thinking about the river. On the waterfront in summer. Shadowy boats. Mosquitos. Crickets and frogs not quite singing together. And those warm distant lights. Off white, softer in foggy distance. Humid and sandy along the jagged narrow shore. Here, just bulbs behind a black scrim. Right here in this room, scattered on the floor, writing in silence, me and my classmates. Pens whispering on paper, hunched beneath the lights, graduate students and professor, contemplate art. Such a brilliant night.