Late Life Happiness

Barbara L. Greenberg

Barbara L. Greenberg is the author of The Spoils of August (1974), The Never-not Sonnets (1989), What Nell Knows (1997), and Fire Drills: Stories (1982). She has taught creative writing in the Boston area and was an originating faculty member of the MFA writing programs at Goddard and Warren Wilson colleges. More recently she has been affiliated with the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.

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The Applicant

My time, how was it spent? Giving and taking courses.
Pouring and siphoning milk, wine, plasma
into and out of the metaphysical waters,
upsetting many a trout and many a catfish
along the way, for I was non-canonical
and never truly of the teaching profession
and never one with any student body:
never at ease in my chair, never at the right level,
always a poor fit, always a foreigner
pining for my homeland, my village, my dialect
rich in words for which there are no English equivalents
though heaven knows I’ve tried to convey those meanings,
whacking my old gray mare and calling her Dummkopf…

“Peace,” says the dean of the Methuselah Institute.  “Welcome.”