I remember her hands on my shoulders in the rain,
warm rain of San Francisco in September,
the slow curl of smoke from her lips,
a grackle watching us with its white eye,
her blonde hair, mornings tangled
in each other, the vein under her ear
where I kissed her again and again,
and what she said, afterward, that
rhythm is the secret of the world.
She played piano, Mendelssohn, badly,
loved a Christian boy better than me.
I took her home after the prom and sat alone
in my father’s car beside the reservoir,
drinking vodka straight from the bottle.