That Summer We Knew Each Other
Almost every weekend that summer,
you would join me on the porch at dusk.
As the night wore on we could see a raccoon
or possum stalking past, nothing visible
but its eyes and the silhouette of fur.
We are the sum of our parts, you would say.
Or, I am not living, only existing.
Words nothing like your flannel shirt,
or the glow of the streetlights,
or the thick scent of pine trees.
That August two hard rains fell.
Before and after heat hung in the air
like claws stuck in prey and steam caught in my throat.
I heard yesterday that you got a job
with a logging company up north.
That you don’t speak to many people.
You read books, smoke, sit on your porch at night.
Once that August I opened your cedar box
to reach for a cigar and when I looked up
you were watching me.
Your look reminded me of a photo
I saw earlier that summer in a psychiatric museum.
The man was chained to a wall with an iron ring
around his neck, his feet bound with cloth.
An hour before the photo he may have been spun in a cage
or shaken or kicked or doused with water,
and still he remained tucked away.
He stared at the camera with his deep-set eyes
Please, interfere with me.