college girls

he watched things break on the edge of soft sweaters
and hair that became flowers that became rain
falling on the rooftops of distant houses where
princes dreamed of being commoners, and commoners
dreamed of killing princes

a face that made him want to go to war
in the vain hope she would wait for him
and the more realistic hope that he would not
return; for in the time of learning, the real
education is in loss and disappointment and
even ruin;

for there are two currents in life, flowing
in opposite directions: the wanting

and the being wanted

A Surprising Postscript to Love Spasm the Third

[This happened in April of 2015.]

In quite a twist, I saw her at the park.
Full sixteen years since we’d our fateful date;
She now the age that I was then, and with
Two children now, of roughly four and eight

She called to me as I was walking by
I didn’t recognize her at first sight;
But when she smiled, I knew right away
So I walked towards her in the dusky light

We sat down on a bench as her kids played
She told me of her marriage and her work
I told her all these years I hadn’t known
If she looked back on me as just some jerk

She said she’d opened up her heart to me
And at the time, she didn’t understand
But as she grew she realized that I
Had tried to be to her a gentleman

I told her of my family and my son
Who she could not believe is twenty now
I looked at those two images of hers
We’d stayed as long as my time would allow

And as I turned to walk away I said
That I was truly happy her to see
She hugged me for an instant, then I left
Still, I think, as shocked as I could be

I got back to my car at almost-night
So glad that I’d, just once
Done something

Love Spasm The Third

When my ex left, our youngest was
But three years old – alas –
So I would take him daily to
A little pre-k class

The girl who worked there was so young
But seemed to like the way
I’d sit with him – and other kids –
Beginning every day

So, finally, I asked her out
And she said that she would
So I drove out to get her
When she said it would be good

And she came out to meet me
Well before I’d left my car;
And it struck me, so I asked her
Before I had gone too far

Exactly just how old she was
“Um, twenty” – her head hung —
She looked up, her eyes pleading
Asking if that was too young

“Oh, no, no – you’re age suits you”
That was all I thought to say
But I knew I wouldn’t go on
Any further in this way

So post-dinner, I told her
Gently, how much fun I had
And then I took her back home
To her mother and her dad

And said, “I will not lie to you:
I will not call again,
But if I may, I’d like to say
To you now, as a friend:

You’re beautiful and charming,
And if ages weren’t in play,
I’d probably want to call you
From the end of the driveway.”

But she was not placated
As we both felt something strike:
The pain of liking someone
Who it is
Just wrong
To like