IVY LEAGUE GRADUATION SPEECH
Though you graduated from here,
you have only dragged things out:
eventually you will be spared nothing.
After so much has been
done for you, you will know what it is
to be a means for others’ ends, your time
a commodity, your life something to sell.
They’ve told you to believe in yourself,
to take chances, dream big—but
these are uninspired lies useful to
keep your energy up, which is not
nothing, but amoral as caffeine.
Know, though, there are small moments in
which you can choose over and over
again your life: restraining yourself
from saying something knee-jerk,
speaking up in a silent meeting about
an obvious but unpopular reform.
Now come forth and shake our hands,
firmly, pose for a few snapshots, then
make room for those who are next,
a long, endless line waiting behind you.
ADAM SCHEFFLER grew up in California, received his MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and is currently working on finishing his PhD in English at Harvard. His poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Antioch Review, The Massachusetts Review, Rattle, Colorado Review and many other journals.