my trip cross country in the Green Tortoise,
my crazed days of alienation and discovery
in Berkeley before heading up to college.
I slide the moments to the side like abacus
beads, breaking into my dorm, setting off
the fire alarm, walking naked
down a hallway of onlookers on a dare.
The songs play, Dona’s Old Man
cause of her drunken rants, Hand in Hand’s
unsteady animal acquainted with every hell,
Wrong Side of the Road defining the rough shoulder.
Did I even go to classes?
Straight from bed in whatever I still wore.
Did I remember to call my parents? Every Sunday
from the booth at the end of the hall.
I went to dinner at my writing teacher’s bungalow,
the group of us did, and drank our first Eiswein
(from grapes frozen on the vine) while he quoted Rilke
in German. Did I get thrown out of group therapy
for antisocial behavior? Did I stand on the moonlit
grate to let my black lace skirt rise around me like steam?
Did I offer then retract my offer to sleep with Richard
who was still technically a virgin wishing otherwise?
The answers are in the questions and the recited
line, Die Zukunft tritt uns auf diese Weise ein,
um in uns verwandelt zu werden, lange bevor es passiert,
about the future, in a language I couldn’t understand.