Above the Tunnels

Sandy Fontana

This college campus extension,
one building only, formerly part

of the asylum on these asylum grounds.
The classrooms, converted patients’

quarters and beneath us the tunnels.
Such horror and history. We’re like

the city atop the buried city, the students
could pickax and shovel into quieted

collected voices of the mad, and madhouse
keepers, instead of drudging through MLA

documentation. We’re like a parallel universe
of institutions, like Roethke’s sad pencils.

Sandy Fontana teaches composition, literature, and creative writing at Shawnee Community College. She received her MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale along with the 2002, 2003, and 2004 Academy of American Poets Prize. Her poetry has been published in Atlanta Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Nimrod, Slippery Elm, and The Labletter.