Smith College, MA, USA
And we waited a long time
in the crowded, humid darkness.
Then, the taut, rising hum –
and the band arrived, at last,
beautiful, so beautiful, just like we knew
they would be:
they spun and spat and sang for us,
all roar and crash and wild abandon,
songs of pale sun turning gold
in the hands of the city trees,
this starting-over-again, hard-won-bravery music,
wave after wave of gleaming & unabashed desire,
bass-thrum and cymbal-splash –
you know, in the right hands
a guitar makes a bristling, clawing howl –
then our beloved singer’s sweet-burning voice,
their ecstatic, lilting murmur, reverent, luminous –
Let me be the one to save you,
and all throughout we stood in the heat,
in the push and glow of the crowd’s beating heart,
how nervous and brilliant I felt,
me and you, you and me.
But then, on the car ride back to your house,
(haunted suburbia, blinds always drawn,
sleeping shadow of your father)
the quiet covered my ears
with two cold, heavy hands.
The lights along the highway
were flickering and
distant. Beads of red and
phosphorus green dissolved into
the black water.
We passed dark hills, dark buildings. Watched the late summer wind,
the patterns it made in the grass.
How long I have loved you and said nothing of it.