Monday, September 4, 2017

Summer, 1995 by John Freeman

Summer, 1995

Three rooms, sight unseen, rented from a nurse and
her husband, the floors filthy, one working burner
on the stove. Every morning I left her behind
in bed, holding me with a fierceness
I did not recognize as desperation, because
both of us were blind, we had invented this,
the parenthesis of a day between lovemaking,
the meals cooked naked, novels read to each other
aloud, the slow walks to a train station, floating,
holding hands as if one of us might zeppelin
away if untethered, and the pain, a knife through
the chest, at departing for just a few days.
I had six jobs, one for a traffic planning
firm, Tom and I would drive in the dawn hours
to an intersection, lay hose, then count cars
through our hangovers as they rolled to a four-
way stop. Someone, somewhere, would use
this data to widen roads, erect new signs,
trim the summit ash and red oak, so drivers
could reduce their speed in time. Astonishing
to realize there was such a thing as too much
beauty. I was nineteen, I had another lifetime to
learn this, but all I could do then was stand
near the flame, and marvel at the blisters.


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