She would have walked the stage in May and left

to walk another way, to forge ahead,

but for that absurd lathe and its needless theft.

How suddenly all my concerns have shed

the fool’s gold gilding their irrelevance.

“Prepare for death,” all wise men always said.

And yesterday on Grove the elements,

the wind and gentle raindrops, said the same.

But neither they nor the graves gave gripping evidence.

What gripped me was your story, and your name,

meeting me this morning as a debt

we all must pay, and all of us to blame.

Michele, I never met you, but I met

your absence from this campus everywhere

today, and will through May. I won’t forget.

—Bryce Taylor