Potomac River, 1982

where I grew up
it was all wonderful and

the adults were kind
and never neglectful
bringing fresh water and

grapes oranges and juice
and sunscreen always asking
each kid what we would

need or might need in the
anticipated future with its

cleared field
its soft blacktop
its estimated yield

we were told to look up
with reason to keep
looking forward

to a cloudless sky
punctuated by drones

you had to hide
to be alone


          Honestly astonishing
the first time you see them unless you grew up with them,
          they look prickly enough
                    to cling to your clothing. Instead

          they are a soft
unsettlement, their promise
          of sweetness more than justified
                    inside, like the way

          you told me you once
got to pet a porcupine, nibs
          relaxed and folded back for better
                    nuzzling, or the first

          time (after waiting and
waiting) you let me hold
          your hand. Cliché
                    means clench, clutch and

          predictable, but also
sometimes true. Sometimes I feel tenderly
          opened up, wet and revealed as if cut
                    in two. I want to spend
                              today with you.

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