First Night by Patricia J. Boyle

First Night
by Patricia J. Boyle

Tail end of August. Mild air, a quarter moon
smiled benignly. Stars glittered, mirroring
our nervous excitement. In the distance,
beyond the town, stretched the beckoning finger
of the deep glacial lake.

We sat on a grassy slope that joined the dorm
complex below with the arts quad above. Suspended
in time, a handful of us, newly met, talked
the way strangers do. Superficial conversation.
Where are you from? What’s your major?
The words didn’t really matter.

We sat on the edge of the future. Our futures.
In afternoon farewells to families, we released
our pasts, or at least loosened our grip. Soon,
reality would come for us. But this night, for
a few hours, the magic of the unknown held sway.

We sat together past midnight, sipping cartons
of chocolate milk. Palavering, laughing, drunk on
the elixir of limitless possibility floating on the breeze.

Hear Patricia J. Boyle, and other selected poets, read their poems on The Viewless Wings Poetry Podcast:

The value of poetry workshops: nine poets recite original poems Viewless Wings Poetry Podcast

Submit your polished poetry for the opportunity of being published on and being interviewed on The Viewless Wings Poetry Podcast.

I’m Patricia J. Boyle, a writer from Livermore, California. I write mostly poetry and fiction, and this year Russian Hill Press published my young adult fantasy novel called Traitor in the Realm.

The poem I’m going to read is about the beginning of my undergraduate experience at Cornell. Five hundred students attended my high school, but there were over ten thousand undergraduates at the university. Freshman year was an exciting time yet a little scary.

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