This was written for my ENG2205 class. I sit towards the left, backhand corner of the large classroom at the end of the hall, generally. The room is blue and white, flaking with age, Victorian colors. In the afternoon, I scratch a tree in the faux wood desk, Do you know you are not real maple? Do you know? I smudge the branches out by three o'clock, so I can leave nonchalantly.
There is a fire escape, too, out the window, which I watch with careful eyes. The casing on the frame always makes me think of the crude ivory elephants from India. The staircase itself is of a hidden meaning, green and blistering iron, otherworldly. It's thirty-foot skeleton sways somehow, sways with suggestion, to keep them alive and me involved. The steps themselves rasp beside the brick wall, branching this year to the other century and its deep water, with a movement that is, I would assume, strangely familiar. But the stairs still scare me like ghosts when I see them shifting up and down in the wind.
The wrought metal seems to be for thinner scholars, those lettered intellectuals with blue monogrammed sweaters, and narrow ties. There is also a solid crank, several decaying leaves musty and feral, and a severe unrest, disabled and forgotten and blank, a severe unrest that I must go stand outside underneath and see.
Four hours ago, the getaway swelled and wrinkled, what was left of it: a reedy expression of railing and lattice, and a hard shell of uncertainty by which I've always seen it move. Tomorrow, if the other buildings turn and notice, the palisade will melt to the wall. The frayed establishments bordering the iron are impish and well informed of skies, a belt of calculated systems.
When the undergrads pack up and leave slowly, like tourists or troubadours, I mostly close the curtain, and after I go the fire gate never is fully there.