For Harry Higgins by Jennifer Wolkin

the first freak she ever met.

Long, lanky, laconic, Larry? Harry, you said softly, Harry—with Allen Ginsberg glasses & Alice Cooper nail polish you were never clandestine when you followed her around campus & took the same Comp Lit course (covering Cather’s “My Antonia”) & you listened like she said something worthwhile while she laughed at you—your belief in her was weird like you who wrote her love poems on the chalkboard during class breaks & wanted to lunch like you were friends & she said no because she was closed off to closeness, to people needing people. In retrospect it was she who was the freak & you the one who knew how to give solace sincerely you were both suffering some version of sadness so you reached out to listen while she withdrew. Harry, she wanted to finally tell you she cares about you & the poetry you wrote for her, but last she read in the graduation bulletin (class of ’02) your loneliness cut each wrist in two & now she gags on these waves of words. She will always wonder what if she was more self-aware. What if she had made friends with her demons enough to not demonize your genuine pursuit of connection.

Jennifer Wolkin, PhD, is a health and neuro psychologist just starting her MFA in Creative Writing at Queens College. She is most passionate about writing at the intersection where the mind, body, brain, and spirit meet-the holistic human experience-through the eyes of both her own experience, and her professional lens.