we say, generously,
as if to imply
time can be taken, like a watch, a recipe,
two twenties from the cash register of the pizzeria
I stole one night in high school to buy a bag of pot,
“schwag,” we called it, and it tasted like sot.
We drove to a Steve Miller show
and smoked bowl after bowl.
“Take your time,” we say, though I can’t grasp
time like a wheel, or stop me from driving fast
and drunk on Washtenaw Avenue three years later.
I took the wheel in my hand, happy-bitter,
and nearly drove over a traffic island,
and was lucky. I drove back without a sound
of fear or a mark. I drank beer after beer.
I went to a party that year,
and lost my virginity to a girl I did not know.
Lying on top, time stopped; it felt so
wonderfully mundane. Then it
ended; I had lasted a minute.
“Take your time,” she might have said.
She left her ID in my pocket,
visited me that afternoon
in pink shirt and tight jeans.
We spoke little. I gave it back.
“Take me,” she never said,
though with her I was taken.
Those years are so sad,
just thinking about them
leaves me shaken.