Complications

Complications

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We used to clamber down the river on hands and knees—there weren’t any bugs then—

and sure, we used to dismember slugs and release their inner sleaze, and there weren’t any bugs
then.

 

Once we stumbled down the slope of your rain-soaked, wooded acres to swim in your pond.

There were bats, and there was thunder, and our flashlight shot up the trees, but there weren’t
any bugs then.

 

Once we wobbled through Boston’s March cold without coats and shouted our early morning
breath,

and I bestowed upon you, dense as you are, half-joking cruelties, but at least there weren’t any
bugs then.

 

Once I found an earthworm and called him friend. I propped him on my slide

and left him, a tiny emperor in the sun. He baked, crisp nobility, and there weren’t any bugs
then.

 

Our plans fell apart when we reached your pond. We watched the bats in silence,

waiting for just one of us to feel unashamed of our triple nudities; after all, there weren’t any
bugs then.

 

And after our trip through the cold, I hid in your room while you conversed with drunks,

and for a time, you know, I hated parties, but at least there weren’t any bugs then.

 

I don’t remember what I did with that tiny king, a question mark in his last moments,

but I suspect I swept him away without anything funerary, and, hey, there weren’t any bugs then.

 

Even now we crawl down the river on hands and knees through the mosquitoes that assault us,

and ah, but Riley, I suspect they are vengeful for my multitude of tiny brutalities although you
and I know there weren’t any bugs then.

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