SHE LIES BY MY SIDE AGAIN, just like all the
nights we woke up on my broad back seat, our own, only country, because
there is no other universe-- her space or mine--that will tolerate our two-tone
love at this date, November 1968. The cold vinyl smells like our love
and warms her in my arms. Coming out of a groggy fog all of a sudden
it's not in the mists overlooking Golden Gate Bridge but in my own narrow
bed, my arms tangled in the quilt that Momma made. Wait a second!
What's going on! I can't let Carol stay here--what if someone walks in?
Wake up! little Carol! Wake up!
But it's no big deal . . . we're not in my car, we're in my house. It's 1969, not '68. And Carol is nowhere around. Or she's right next door. But she sure as hell ain't mine.
When I dream Carol I wonder what to make of the extra sense of perception. It's like when I was a kid and Gwen brought that cat home. It ended up being me who got attached. "Don't play mean with that cat, Meredith," Momma would call from the kitchen. But she didn't understand me, having heard about the kids with tin cans and paper sacks, and Regie pulling the firecracker stunt. After eight weeks he was gone but I kept petting him for years, feeling the firm arch of his back and curling the furry tail, a living wand with a mind of its own.
When he disappeared she got used to me coming in for breakfast with stories that all started: "I know where the kitty is now. . . ." Petting him on the grass at Cal, carrying him out of the maze of redwoods, picking him up by the scruff at my Uncle's.
What I want to know is why don't you belong to me. When I wake up it's already 1969. 1969 is nearly out and I still have adjusted to Daylight Time. The sun slants in lower than ever between the trees of Ashby Ave. Although it's some consolation it's only 9:30 I know it'll be pitch by 6:00.