Farewell Reception

You are invited Friday evening to celebrate Professor John
_______’s retirement from this faculty, from committees
and gradebooks and tedious discussions of nuances
which he now views as the exclusive properties
of those who can recall the words which seem to him
unreliably accessible; the minute his sentences begin they recede
like cities from a plane window;
……………………………………………………now he is on a plane
different from the one we inhabit; his has sudden
trapdoors in the air, somewhat like Chutes ’n Ladders –
a game he likes anew, and Solitaire, he likes that too.
Please RSVP re John’s withdrawal from this and, gradually,
let us not mince words, from his other faculties.

We just wanted to confidentially acknowledge that John’s expertise
has experienced some depletion, as if the sun were from now on
to be rather more moon, often a new one, he knowing
there has been some change or diminishment but not sure
whose, because no longer quite certain who he was,
nor quite who we are, or who we were when he
was still completely John.
………………………………………..So please come prepared
not to be recognized. Our John jokes and John memories may be
lost on nonJohn. Nor should we gather around him, but greet him
one at a time, because there may be lucid moments
when individually we each might reassert in his mind
our relation to the prior John.
………………………………………………..While this reception
will be held from 6 to 8 it will be ongoing for nonJohn,
a continuous volley of blanks firing long after his guests
have gone and left him among his family who know
he underknows them but not the extent to which,
since he’s sly is nonJohn, sly about giving you the slip,
even when only quasi-clear on who is doing the slipping.

J. Allyn Rosser

J. Allyn Rosser

J. Allyn Rosser’s fourth collection of poems, Mimi’s Trapeze, appeared in 2014 from the University of Pittsburgh Press. Her work has been awarded the Morse Prize, the New Criterion Poetry Prize, and Poetry magazine’s Bock and Wood prizes. She has been the recipient of fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Ohio Arts Council. Her work has appeared in five editions of the Best American Poetry series, and in such journals as Poetry, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, and The Georgia Review. She teaches at Ohio University.
J. Allyn Rosser

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Author: J. Allyn Rosser

J. Allyn Rosser’s fourth collection of poems, Mimi’s Trapeze, appeared in 2014 from the University of Pittsburgh Press. Her work has been awarded the Morse Prize, the New Criterion Poetry Prize, and Poetry magazine’s Bock and Wood prizes. She has been the recipient of fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Ohio Arts Council. Her work has appeared in five editions of the Best American Poetry series, and in such journals as Poetry, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, and The Georgia Review. She teaches at Ohio University.