Report to Chaparral Center half past
two pm promptly in seat eighty—
for ninety minutes keep order
guests to stay behind the rails.
Then line them all up nicely
alphabetically in hallways
aka overheated tunnels for
Graduate Candidates enrobed
in mortar boards, long gowns
awaiting the grand processional.
Keep them in order, so very calm—
Then line yourself up five minutes to
four with your faculty colleagues.
Music starts, processional proceeds
March primly, slowly in and stand
Stand in front of seat eighty.
Stand and stand and stand and
Stand as five-hundred-eighty-two
Seniors march in processional only
to stand themselves alphabetically
in front of their seats on twenty-one
rows, and there you continue standing—
For first an Invocation, then National
Anthem, before the welcome command
to finally be seated. You do have
advance leave to sit when your knees
complain—though best not to do that
as the National Anthem is played.
Now sit quietly endure the ceremony
Ninety minutes until the recessional
Then stand and march primly out
keep walking, hang cap and gown
on the rack behind the curtain and
keep walking right out the large door.
Into the open of the massive parking
lot to trek to the car parked far away
ensuring a quick drive off away, away
from Chaparral Center for the last time.
You are now done with final instructions—
you are now fully, completely retired—
forty-five professional service years
concluded, two monthly pensions launched.
Congratulations! Not for graduating as
you did that on four separate occasions;
No, congratulations for moving right on
to full retirement—enjoy the new days.