by Jeff Callahan
Fall again, and the maples are flooded with sugar
and desiccation. The dogwoods spurt their bloody beads.
These days I seldom think of that distant autumn's party, how
I tried to fall asleep after too much wine and disappointment.
A girl I thought I loved had shown up with her ex-ex-boyfriend,
and I had sulked upstairs to flop on somebody's unmade bed
in that college student rack-rental I'd bet to this day hasn't
been painted. The room itself was rather Victorian in its bohemia:
the nightstand shawled in chintz, a beaded lampshade and
the stale reek of Shalimar. The one concession to the 1970s
was a full-length poster of Robert Plant, his face contorted
in bluesy transport, holding the mic near his prick
as if it too might up and shriek like a scorched albino.
On the deck a budding Dylan had his instrument out,
was attempting without success to get laid. He was yammering
about the desert and a horse with no name, which in
my state of self-pity and general intoxication, I heard as brain.
I don't know how long I'd lain there feigning sleep when
something startled me. A girl in white gauzewhose name,
even then, I couldn't recallhad an armload of clothes
she had taken from the closet. Her closet. She smiledmostly,
I could see, from embarrassment. Asked if I was okay.
Then left, closing the door softly as if she had made a mistake.
As if grief had now somehow made it more my room than hers.