summer of '93

my best summer was my worst summer.

i'd ride from garfield to uptown
   stop at wendy's for scalding coffee
   carry it on my bike
   to duquesne and that bar class

sit through lectures, estates and trusts,
   corporations, contracts and torts
looking at the back of your head
   smelling your ponytail
   (but you never turned around)

pedal downtown to the arts festival
   soak it in, summer art and people
lunch with ani difranco on that tiny stage
   burnt-out car sculpture
   shouting all that violence

then up up up the long long hill
   l o n g   h i l l
   past churches, gas stations, bars
studying people on the cathedral lawn
   reading in a carrel at hillman library
   perched with coffee at the beehive

freedom in unstructured summer hours

i went with her a few times
what did she like? the park with the lake
   melissa etheridge (i didn't)
   weird hair and rings on toes
   most interesting, her artist father

and the other, who loved me
and the other, who followed me
   drunk kissing

and you. always you.

we took our test and i ran away.

when you called me out from exile
   i thought i'd lose my mind
   you, calling me, in my solitude?
but you had to tell me about the dean
   trying to keep us from the bar
   "bad moral character"
   we had to find lawyers and respond

your next call shocking me out of seclusion
   you had crashed
   your car skidding on slippery pavement
   into that group of children on bikes
a child died. a child died.
your photo in the newspaper
   the bandage condemning you
   the child's mother damned

a child died.

how much could you take?

i came home to your solitude
   in your sweltering apartment
   unable to be witnessed
that summer evening on your rooftop
   sitting quietly with the weight
   nothing to say
all i knew to do to care for you
   right there on your rooftop
   binding me to you again

in that best of worst of summers.