2006 Commencement

A Time and Place
By Chloe Elizabeth Martin '06
May 27, 2006

We checked off the silk screened boxes
of the red list on T-shirts we bought for 10 dollars:
a list on how to partake
in a history we want
to protect, project, and still
footnote with beer for a buck.

(10 dollars paid to wear time on our backs.)

There were no boxes on our T-shirts to mark
every M/W/F lunch digested at the same table,
with some version of the same 18 people.
Perhaps those boxes are buried under
what remains of the Frederick Law Olmsted
paths winding above the first path that
Lydia Shattuck rebuilt.
In the archeological dig beside the founder's grave,
Shattuck's efforts were unearthed
like the potatoes she had been tending.
The underground prize was the water pump
marking one corner of the original seminary.
(The polished stone from Psalms CXLIV XII.)

Not far away (and with the horse bones
and oyster shells thrown out
after supper) they found little
white smoking pipes un-decayed--
a fashion discovered a century
after it was disregarded; no longer
a disobedience.
Maybe too they will find
the box I wanted to check
to mark the moment I sat
in this institution's Adirondack chair,
nervously becoming confident
that I know the woman walking toward me
and I know myself.

Years later, when our T-shirts
are nearly translucent;
softer than they should be;
worn by another generation--
the lost checks will be found
in the unending sediments of memory.

This geology of women is ours to walk on.

Chloe Elizabeth Martin '06 is graduating this weekend with a major in philosophy and a minor in history. With her studies focused on philosophy for children and early United States history, she hopes to become an innovative educator. While at Mount Holyoke Chloe was a passionate member of the rugby team, an obnoxious fact giver of Mount Holyoke history, and a Danish enthusiast after her semester abroad in Copenhagen. A resident of Rockport, Massachusetts, Chloe will enjoy one more summer at her seaside home with her parents and two sisters before heading out on her own. She has been writing poems since she was two years old. Her latest creation is dedicated to the families that we are given and the families that we find.

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