The night I left in your shirt
your mother in the next room
and our friend who had brought me there
didn't keep our clothes on but you wouldn't let me go to the car to get a rubber—
"Americans can't be casual about this!"
It was safe sex anyway—just hands, in 1976!

***

Twice you made my portrait—
"Mercury Boy" because I stole from the lab—
"The Sleepless Night of the Poet,"
because of the poem which lives
only in that drawing—

What did I care for sleep and poison?

***

I was in Eugene and wanting to marry some other woman
when a letter sent General Delivery told me
my parents had sold the house where your drawings covered the garage walls—

I came home from work and the woman I did marry
left her voice on the answering machine,
and two days later you were on Haldol—

***

It wasn't because of me.

But I've given you nothing, not even this poem.


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