4/14/80: Fort Smith, Arkansas
Twenty years ago today I turned
Twentyone. Strange how the memory goes
And comes as it will, how I still clearly see
Some faces, hear some voices now and then,
Yet have forgotten others, recall but parts
Of people I'd have bet my future on.
My first real date, with no parents
To chaperon, was Randy Clark, I think,
Both thirteen and walking to the movies
Downtown Friday afternoon. In the back
Balcony, Randy didn't care a damn
For army dialogue, just wanted his hand
Under my blouse, happy if his thigh
Could squeeze against my knee, wrinkling
The skirt I'd stayed up half the night before
To press. I gave in to his leg, but not
His hand. His body has no face any more,
But he lives on, headless, in my waking,
In my memory's wandering. Not long after
Was when Mother told me that the first time
Would be something to remember to my grave.
Well, here I am, halfway there, and memory
Has carried another boy beyond my reach.
He's just a smile now, Hank DuPree, a flash
Of pain I'd rather have done without, rough
Skin, twisted and cramped in a car seat
One could barely sit in, much less two make love.
Three years later we eloped. And now he's gone
As quickly as he came, more easily
Than I made the lie to tell my folks
About the twisted strap and dirty hem.
And that is how I remember all of them.
from This Book Is For Eva
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