The green shell of his backpack makes him lean
into wave after wave of responsibility,
and he swings his stiff arms and cupped hands,
Paddling ahead. He has extended his neck
to its full length, and his chin, hard as a beak,
breaks the surf. He’s got his baseball cap on
backward as up he crawls, out of the froth
of a hangover and onto the sand of the future,
and lumbers, heavy with hope, into the library.
“Student,” by Ted Kooser.