We didn't exactly rape her,
but Harlow did bring Susie to the New Year's Eve party
with the idea that we'd all fuck her,
Susie one of those girls who "pulled trains."
Why not? I was a college freshman
home like a returning warrior
from my first year on my own
at the state university a hundred miles away,
reuniting with the locals who'd stayed behind.
"Why do I always end up in the bedroom?"
Susie asked plaintively as I pulled on my pants
and Danny entered the bedroom.
I felt like a sneak thief zipping my jeans,
grabbing my boots and easing out the door.
I never saw her again.
Now, forty years later,
I come home for Christmas
from across the country
to find Susie pushing my mother
in a wheelchair,
helping her bathe and dress,
cooing soothing words to the frail old lady,
a day care provider for the elderly.
We do not acknowledge our acquaintance --
does she even recognize me? --
but my self-consciousness hangs
between us like a curtain,
suffocating as cotton.
Charles reads "Home Again":
Charles confesses: "When you're young, I think, you are morally more flexible than when you are older. This may be because youth is so often a time of being exploited and judged anyway. Guilt is something you don't appreciate until you are older, and age, of course, brings its own trials."
The Potomac. His collection entitled Fusen Bakudan, involving missionaries during the Vietnam war, has just been published by Time Being Books. A chapbook of poems entitled Mixed Signals is forthcoming from MuscleHead Press.