the dark comfort of a theater

the touch of another without fear or fervor

the unenforced orchard of safety

the creek

even the leeches

being close enough to pluck leeches from the feet of my friend while she screeched

but there’s relief in relinquishing investment

I didn’t trust the man who came to visit

but hearing his stories was instructive

especially the one where he received an invitation to join the Klan

which he described as a long application left on his door

including the question “what do you have to offer our organization?”

But he came uninvited and got too close

like the woman the day before

like people who knew each other 40 years ago

and remain tokens of former selves not quite shirked

still sometimes staying at the Travel Lodge

shopping at Lakeside Mall

Cruisin’ the Coast in their Jeep or CR-V

having totally forgotten the time

they told my 12-year-old cousin she looked like a hooker in those shoes

which were glittering platform jellies

and very cool

and we knew she’d been denigrated then

but we also knew her power

this I miss and don’t miss

the soft spot of bruise on the psyche rotting

vehicles of authority swarming us to immersion

bumping against another and another another

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