Sidewalk sky, flat, gray, no sun-bright spot, dimly glowed overhead
Even the svelte and flexible co-eds in their short and slinky dresses
Did not twinkle . Only the Carolina blue of the cap and gowners shone
On this overcast commencement day.
My oldest child, son, who as a toddler looked like grandmother dandelion,
Frowzy white hair like a halo and who ran a certain way
that was instantly recognizable on a baseball or
football field, floated incognito in the blue flourescence.
I called his cell.
He waved. We saw him. Parents, grandparents, all fat with pride.
They did not call his name. They did not call anyone’s name that was not famous.
But this group of kids was surging and rising in their
Great wave of billowing sateen toward the uncertainty
of financial crisis and record breaking unemployment and war overseas.
Still the crowd of them heaved and rolled, the only brightness in that gray day.
Some of us looked up and thought their future looked like the sky.
Some of us looked at them and were blinded by their shine.
Bettina Colonna Essert(May 10th, 2009)
Written in memory of Randall’s commencement, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.