She came to my dorm room and stayed the night with me
a couple times—rare bouts of innocence
in those days of always shoving in like a pushy fan
trying to get to the stage—

and kept her clothes on, sleeping in jeans
like we were trapped in an airport or something,
snuggling up to me with that nonplussed look of hers
and letting me kiss her, I think,

for whatever that would have been worth.
It was absolutely nothing that brought us together—
perhaps a class, or that she lived three doors down
and left her door open while she typed,

her studious, generous face like a lamp left on
in some old, empty house, me coasting
on marbles home with a cigarette going—me,
who got in the habit of stopping to talk maybe

just because my ears were ringing
with the silence of the place—and yet
it is her I am thinking of tonight with a tenderness
that is almost like sleep it is so natural

and so safe from the sweaty effort
of another day walking in my heavy armor.
It’s a nation-founding myth that years
bring wisdom. I still have no idea

why she slid into bed beside me
those two nights, weeks apart, saying
nothing, perhaps, as would have been her way
at such a time, clasping me in her sweatered arms

as though sex were a thing of the past
and new snow building up fast on the runway.


from In Someone Else’s House, BkMk Press, 2013
originally published in Poet Lore