In the back seat of Clement’s red convertible

hair of leaves lifted by wind,

our eyes wept in the speed of nighttime


Vickie of bucked teeth, black eyes and spearmint tongue,

clutched me into her sharp adolescent bra

through hallways of full trees


Clement’s girl Cherine screamed at every curve


The air itself and swerving lanes

exalted us in that irretrievable moment

at eighty miles an hour


The car skidded at one turn,

slid into new grass off the street –


Clement yanked reverse, spun oversized tires,

splattered mud, soon back on the pavement,

painting treads under streetlights


He drove on at the top of his life,

whooshing under canopies of oak, maple, ash,

me with a girl so perfectly named Vickie


The raw, starchy smell of earth and growth

came at us out of the sweetness of summer,

kept coming and coming and coming