The First Night
You don’t know the kid slumped dead
drunk on the sidewalk. Someone says
he lives in your dorm. Sick already
of the squandering of this night,
you offer to escort him back in a taxi.
The driver threatens $300 if he pukes.
He pukes. You hand over his credit
card, sick already of the squandering
of this night. Back in the dorm,
you do not pass him off to his RA,
a mandatory reporter. The kid was dumb,
but so were thousands, everyone
getting the same letter to avoid this,
which all ignored. You want him to live
through the night, prop him on his side,
face over the trash, check his breathing
for hours, sick already of the squandering
of this night. Tomorrow, you hope
he will thank you. Tomorrow, you hope
college will be fun.
by Devon Balwit
Editor’s Note: Enjambment and repetition create an uneasy emotional narrative in this poem. Many of us will recognize the sentiment of the last two lines.