October is half-over--
I run my fingertips over the back of my paper-dry hand.
Dusk, like an ever-threatening rainstorm,
encroaches on the edges of the day.
And I can smell, far-off from me,
the charcoal fires
and the girlish squeezes on the bleachers;
sweaters with too-long sleeves fall
like phantoms over my arms,
and I remember
nights with crisp branches and leaves,
the bonfires, the metal scraping
beneath the shoes that let me taste invincibility,
mouth open, waiting,
an unplotted course,
the clock that struck at midnight, and forbidden kisses
in the bare-stripped cornfield beneath the low, low moon:
eagerness and too much energy,
a certainty that the future would be something
and be something to be proud of.
I no longer have a girlfriend to cling to;
there is no boy with carefully sculpted hair
and wounded, liquid eyes.
Still, I would go and watch the game,
look at the girls in their sweaters,
but there are no tickets to sell to me,
no cars I can ride in,
and the taste of beer is even more unpleasant
when I drink alone.
I should have taken more
forbidden kisses; I should have
made my bed every night beneath
the open sky; I should have
clung tighter to her sleeve--
but I did not realize
that there are twelve months in the year,
and only one of them is