by Tai Carmen
The one hard year that kicked my ass,
the street was bathed in the dull light of drunkenness,
kids loitered outside the bar, talking from behind their hair,
girls in bright tights and boys in bright sweaters,
falling into each other between sideways glances.
And what possessed me to get into that car
– a drunk girl I barely knew behind the wheel –
to sit on a strange boy’s lap?
I thought nothing of it.
Somehow we make it without crashing, taking twelve-packs
up the stairs to someone’s Echo Park apartment.
What do we do once there?
Sit on the floor, drink beers, listen to music,
talk a little, but who knows what we say.
There’s porn in the bathroom.
I am a wraith in the dark.
I called you that night, walking down the long hill towards the bus,
the tall, dewy silence standing cool in the trees,
past people’s mailboxes and gardens,
tipping my Coors Lite to my mouth,
stars smeared somewhere above the smog.
At the bus stop, I stared down the black shadows
with a drunk’s courage and beginner’s luck.
You were awake. “Thinking of you,” you said,
speaking softly so as not to wake her.
You sounded wistful, like it was really true,
and that was happiness, then.