Mike Chinooga finds me
through my sister. He says
we’ve got a reservation
in an hour, in Wellesley.
I chew the ice from my Scotch.
His crow’s feet are deep.
He traces his meal.
He hasn’t been back
since high school: lived in Chicago
a few years, sailed down California
for cash, relationships flashing
open and shut. He had a liquor business
that spilled down his chest; nine months steering
the supply trucks, and a sweet tooth still
for meth. But he’s married, finally,
with a girl, due in June.
A nice little house, out in Harvard.
I think if I asked, he’d still swing
a plastic sword, call himself
Mikeness the Proud, and we could fall
into our little bodies
in the parking lot behind the bank.
I’ve lasted. I guess I never wanted to move
far, in case Alice came back.
After that night
on the Fiske baseball diamond, the world
He lands a surprise on my arm
that’s likely to bruise.
She skipped graduation
and the parties, and was gone
to Juliard or somewhere I couldn’t afford
to follow. Relationships flashed open
and shut. A few poets, an architect
with a penchant for high-rises,
even a bus driver who understood
the uncertainty of wooden places,
but no one who sang
like hunting, like riding an animal
into the ground…
I realize then I am in Mike’s car.
I don’t know when I stopped speaking.
I realize I am on my front steps, nodding.
Mike is a smiling figure
in the passenger window, pointing
at the door.
My key spins in the lock
like an old friend, an old story
I didn’t realize
I was telling.