Old Past, Near Past.
Unsure of who we were
and often too close to a life of fresh-faced good cheer, we tried to
complication to the cleanliness of our reputations-- you, by taking the
Greyhound out of Port Authority amid snow
and wind, heading west, telling no one what you were doing, not even
your roommate or parents. Me, falling for a woman whose violent husband
would soon get out of prison.
And now, this late in our lives, as we try to account for the ways each
of us was ready for the other, I think of you boarding that bus
with just a change of underwear in your book bag, and a fifty
Scotch-taped to your thigh, and hear it coincide with some things
I'd only dared to dream.
And when I told you about the abortionist in Brooklyn, and the angel my
grandmother became one desperate night, I wanted you simply, but not so
simply, to know how far I'd go for love.
Then in those years after our divorces, how sweet of you (for my sake)
to leave out for as long as you could your lefts and godforsaken Bucks,
and for me, likewise, my Betsys
and that unforgivable Darlene-- all our romances told broadly until one
of us, furious at some small thing, was tempted to describe that night
in Omaha or Toledo with crazy, nostalgic, naming-of-names details, but
only mentioned names, and got names in return. Later, in bed, the air
was rife with what we'd omitted. Bodies appeared, and who can
sleep well after that, the near past so close, full of imaginings.