Of all the indiscreet behaviors
that colored my college years,
my deep drags of yellow highlighter
those zebra stripes I painted across textbook pages
may be my most peculiar disgrace.
How hard it was to draw the line
when drawing those lines.
Once I had stretched that cautionary color
like crime scene tape across chapters,
inches led easily to yards
until half of a story, most of an epic
lay glistening from my indiscriminate, squeaky touch.
Professors derided aimless effort and preached diligence while,
I rode my own neon yellow Zamboni machine,
painting long bands of importance in their sacred texts.
Those books, still on my shelves, have one lesson left to teach:
sharpen my daily search for the heart of what matters.
And so I will cap the marker of expedience
and read my days deeply:
I will notice that dot of yellow
in the corner of my daughter’s eye
when I’ve spoken too harshly,
the beautiful yellow parentheses
framing my wife’s mouth
when she says something funny,
and the furrow in my young son’s brow,
its yellow crevice telling me
that this word he cannot pronounce yet
is, in his opinion, important.
Bill Connolly is an administrator in the Woodstown-Pilesgrove Regional School District in Woodstown, NJ.