I think about how you may have been a trigger
I never quite tripped.
You took me to the place
where your family buried your horses,
a wide patch of land surrounded by
dying trees and yellowed grass,
and we talked about things greater than ourselves
and we walked a little more.
I don’t think I would have loved you,
despite the kindness you showed me
that only seems clear in hindsight;
you were damaged and bright
but you couldn’t crack me.
You gave me copies of Bukowski
and we spent most of our time
listening to music and sleeping,
curled up in your bed in my underwear
and I never once let you get close enough
to slip underneath them.
I never wondered if it bothered you
that you couldn’t stay with me,
that we had to drive three hours
to get to your place, and three hours
back to mine. My roommate’s husband
didn’t want men in the house, I told you,
which was true, but I don’t think
it would have saved us, anyway.
If I couldn’t get to know you
in those three hour drives or
playing pretend in your parents’ house,
I hardly think we had a chance at all.
I didn’t learn to like Bukowski
until a few years later, leafing through
the book you’d given me. He said,
Find what you love and let it kill you,
and you may not understand
but I did just that.