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If it weren’t that I listened to the Ramones and the Clash and the B52s and LĪVE, and you smiled as if I were adorable and said you had gone through that phase, too, then unpacked your thousand vinyls of Traffic and Blind Faith and the Doors and the Grateful Dead, and lit incense by the door, and we’d just met, our first week in that concrete block shoebox of a dorm room, our beds tombstoned side by side so I was pressed to say, Yes, I like incense, too, because you had the coffee maker and I had the microwave, but you had the refrigerator and television, while I had the stereo, and the stereo, hadn’t you hinted, meant I had an advantage, because you had all that vinyl but only a CD player, and didn’t you want to woo me with your coffee maker and the boxes of groceries your mother would send to you each week, and didn’t I want to borrow your clothes, because you had so many, and had I even tried listening to the Dead? If it weren’t for your laugh. You, the one between us who felt so grown, seduced by that older man on the flight from Chicago, me daring my rums and cokes, my Lone Stars, while you exhaled lamb’s breath and dropped acid and let that man on the Chicago flight sneak you into the tiny coffin of a bathroom and do Charlie off your breasts, and you with the laugh like you were a little girl, and you liked music from the 60s because you said it was so innocent, daisies, your bare feet, you going barefoot on the worn brick walks all through our city campus, beneath the bellum trees that built hideaways along the winding alleys, alleys we walked only in twos and threes or having borrowed a guy to walk us home. You laughing, laughing at me in my leather biker jacket, my little girl Doc Martens, off to run lights for the headliner at Rockitz, so afraid to walk alone, while you danced off singing beneath the long shadows, spinning and cartwheeling, your ankle bells ghostly echo off the rowhouse walls. If it weren’t for how much I hated the horn in Traffic. If it weren’t for how tired I was of my parents’ generation. If it weren’t for how old the voices sounded, how slow the melody. How much I needed bass to pound my ribcage, pogos to shake me loose. If I had walked with you. If I had been one to smoke weed or dance barefoot or dance in circles as soft as a daisy in sunlight, if I had walked with you, if we had been going the same way, if you’d liked Rockitz and I’d like Winwood, and I walked with you those last yards before the darkness, to see what it was you danced around. The white spray-painted outline of a sprawled body, the stenciled logo Don’t walk alone, the local women’s shelter’s campaign for safety. Sprayed right onto the bricks: don’t walk alone – a woman was raped here, that mock chalk outline. If it weren’t for your laugh, your little girl voice calling back, Don’t be silly, you sillyhead. I’m fine. If it weren’t for you dancing off into the night, singing Steve Winwood, your voice angelic and spectral under the dark of the trees, gliding on forever.