Parked in your battered Mustang
a little way into the woods,
we watched rain glisten on glass.
I asked if you had written to Leonard.
You said “No, when friends move away
they go out of my life.”
Earlier, in our ecstasy,
I thought: Even dying would be joy
if you leaned over me then
in that hour of passage,
your cool, talismanic fingers
touching my eyes shut.
Now, inexorable miles of highways,
spun before my sight.
Shafts of gear and brake
came between our bodies.
I said “Thanks for the warning.”
But I loved you long after
our family moved a continent away,
felt your hands and words
come between me and the wheel,
driving alone at night
into treeless hills.
—from Rattle #7, Summer 1997
Virginia Hamilton Adair: “The advice I had for poets in my classes was: You are the poet, what you think, what you do is unique. Nobody else can do it.”