In grade school, I’d spend the night
at Dustin’s house. He had a water bed
and glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling.
He knew sports terminology
and had no interest in Star Trek.
He told me that one day
when he used to live in Arizona,
this girl across the courtyard
strolled naked onto her balcony
and waved at him. Such kindness,
such grace rippling that raw desert heat.
In high school, we started
hanging out less, afraid someone
would think we were gay, both of us
too shy to earn the favor
of Iowa daughters with Egyptian tans
and three rings through each ear.
We used to argue over religion,
his cherry-picked snips of Old Testament
versus my budding Zen and self-
doubt. Some nights, we’d climb a ladder
leaning against his dark roof
and unfurl our sleeping bags,
real stars crisping the country evening,
miles from motels and drive-thrus.
Nothing out there but cow pastures,
splintered fences, maybe a radio
with batteries duct-taped in the groove,
guitar solos and rap screeds
eventually dissolving into soft rock
as the moon kept slipping in
and out of her blue-black shawl.
And we slept, restless but free
of nightmares, always careful to leave
some untouched space between us.
Photo Source: Missionary Ideas