By Rodney Jones
Featured Art: White Lines by Irene Rice Pereira
I studied philosophy at the dream university.
Nietzsche, Kant, the less algebraic Whitehead.
Honors the first year, but the second began badly.
The room was missing when I went to the first class.
Each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday,
I would go and find 103 and then 105.
When I asked, advisement insisted the room was there.
When I phoned the professor’s house,
she was on sabbatical in another country.
This is how I learned it was an independent study.
I read Tolstoy’s Christian writing and Bertrand Russell.
After that, both church and philosophy went to hell.
Just as well, I thought finally, to think without direction—
Better than the class before, when I was the only one naked.
Rodney Jones’s eighth book, Salvation Blues (Houghton Mifflin, 2006), won the 2007 Kingsley Tufts Prize and was shortlisted for the Griffin International Poetry Prize. He teaches in the graduate writing program at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
Originally appeared in NOR 3