We should have been eighteen the afternoon
we drove almost to Land’s End, where you asked her to marry you.
At Cook’s Corner, you asked to see my wedding ring—
a thin band you turned between your thumb and forefinger.
We should have driven a few more miles,
crossed to Bailey Island, remembered late afternoon in photos
I would have thrown out by now:
a lighthouse, pulled traps, another coarse shore.
We should’ve driven back to Brunswick, opened six packs
with friends and raised glasses of white wine to the end of summer.
But we chose an unmarked bend, on a state route without number,
somewhere past the last salt-washed Cape that remembered civilization.
We dangled our bare feet in some cove, and watched
dark pull the last strands of pink from the sky.
You lit my cigarette with yours and we raised bottles
to this place, saying ours, because no one else had named it.
Another August closes in cicada noise
and I am hundreds of miles from the Androscoggin—
no photos, no matchbook, no bottle caps tucked in a drawer.
Bathwater drips flat from my anklebone;
I should remember less of you.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 17, Issue 3.
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