I remember how, outsmarted you took
one last class with Master Bartlett—he tore
into your words by not talking of them
at all, in class. Later, walking through
Lennon Park I told you how I’d cracked open
sheet after sheet, sky after sky, all
while looking for a good poem. I’d met
three of four women and they meant nothing
to me, their perfumes, the way each wore her hair.
You, you were listening to the Monkees,
trying to get the hometown ballad right—
but nothing came out sounding like when
a man’s put to heartache or promise
in the high desert when he’s watching a fire
from a faraway ridge and can do nothing about it.
For the wicked had come at night
with the late summer stars blazing
like older women in love. For me, right now,
there is no sound in Ohio that sounds
like the echoes of old mountains
at 9000 feet singing in the sun. Dusted,
I ran the high path only once when we climbed
from the desert into the pines.
So I called to the sky to meet me
In the infatuated South. There was
A run of cold water coursing
From the top of a hill—you know
My soul I left for her to find
forever in the turquoise sage,
and in doing so left my name
for her on this very page.