saturday, march 14

at the end of the last summer i
spent at home, i visited a friend
who was staying in a nearby town
he was working the phones at a collection
agency, waiting to go to jail for a while
i forget just exactly why

we bought some beer and went to
a house party he knew about
it was a theater crowd,
kids in the department
at the local community college
and probably some highschoolers
there was something kind of 19th-century
about the ones whose parents owned the house
like there is about most midwestern kids
in a place like that with a doomed passion for
some marginal art
she was an actress
her brother played piano and sang

it turned out a bunch of people there
had attended a fundamentalist christian
summer camp run for years by the family of
one of my few childhood friends

he had since moved to colorado
and i don't remember if i knew it at the time,
but not many days later i'd be driving out to grand junction
to see a girl i'd met at his wedding there the summer before

at the party, i wound up laying on a trampoline in the
back yard talking to someone for a long time
i've never been able to remember her name,
but she was smart and sympathetic, easier to
understand than most people i've met before or since

maybe it was just that she wasn't skinny or crazy
or maybe i was being kind of a chickenshit
but i didn't try to kiss her, which i have
since learned just enough to understand
would have been the correct thing
in fact nothing happened at all that night
my friend went from drunk to please-go-away drunk,
so we left
and i drove him home

that night was heavy with coincidence,
and, in a way, freighted with potential
it might have meant something
but it didn't
and as far as i know my life is no different
than it would be if i'd stayed home
to listen to led zeppelin
and drink beers in the garage
like i did most of that summer
for some reason though, it's stayed with me
i woke up the other day thinking about it

and how so much of life eventually
collapses into the static of the past
its significance muted and mutually excluded
by succeeding events and successive losses.