Do you remember that summer when I'd just come by in the evenings? You'd be, as likely as not, in your room with some lover or another and I would just come in the back door and make myself at home at your kitchen table. I never even saw those girls you had over, never asked their names even, but instead I would sit in the flow from the rotating fan with my little drugstore notebook and write disconnected poems for awhile until I'd hear the front screen door slam and you'd come through those hanging beads in the doorway, looking spent and summer sweaty with maybe half a bottle of white rum in your hand. I'd give you a cigarette and put away my notebook while you took the Coke out of the fridge, where it was kept perfect cold, to mix us a drink in those chartreuse plastic cups that always carried the smell of last night's liqour. You'd turn the fan on yourself, on your neck and chest and face, while I'd put my hand on the small of your back and tell you what I wrote about and what I had been thinking. There was a lavender mixed with sex smell about you and your teeth were sticky from sugary drink; I could tell that even sitting.
Afterwards, we would go out and here's where it gets strange, because I do not remember what we did at all, all those nights. Did we just sit on the hoods of cars? Did we walk the piers of Wrightsville Beach or spread blankets in closed city parks? It was always too late for fireflies, or too early maybe. You would wear that faded pink thrift store dress and I wore long pants and no shoes. It was summer and I would walk on the grass, which was soaked and long and full of shadows.
At dawn, we'd be eating crabmeat omelletes at Middle of the Island and when we'd finish, I'd be hollow and tired and your face like a morning glory. I'd have to drive you home despite almost dreaming on my feet, morning after morning. There were always gulls in that parking lot, loud and hovering over the gravel and the outdoor trash.
I didn't know anything about living and neither did you. I was glutted on caffeine and you were such a slave to your little lust pacts that the daytime hours passed without event; the laundry piled unwashed and I learned to sleep to the vacant sound of daytime TV. And yet sometime, when the streetlights flickered back on and the heat stopped shimmering the black asphalt, when the dark roadside canal water stilled but for the slow rise of bubbles sent up from some ancient, slumbering snapping turtle and the convenience store clerks all over your neighborhood would get a little nervous, I would feel life surge back into me, past the filters of depression and poverty and apprehension of loss, and I would turn my car back to your driveway and sit for awhile watching your bedroom silhouette window until my thoughts unfolded out of some song I'd be humming and back onto my little notebook page and I would let myself in again and sit at your kitchen table with the rotating fan and the Mickey Mouse salt-n-pepper shakers and the potted aloe and the smell of fresh corn and fried fish, and I would write a poem or two.