Reckless Memory

By Anna Leahy

June 12, 2023

Reckless Memory

—for Pat

That night I drove in the dark with you across the lawn, we were each leaving in our own way and had been drinking for tomorrow, and after I didn’t hit the college security guard on his bicycle, thank god, I let you take the wheel and also the rap because, even though it was my car, you were driving when the siren stopped us. The town cops decided we were less trouble than we were worth, all white with worth and cap and gown, and we got back in the car to worry what your police officer father would say at the next morning’s graduation. I had long sensed your worries loomed far deeper than that, too tender for either of us to touch, too similar to mine for conversation, though I’m sure you knew I knew but not exactly what or why. Years later, you would catch the draft—and not for the first time—as if cycling behind a semi so swift that, in a matter of minutes that were also years, it carried you where you half-wanted to go. The greatest risk of drafting is sudden braking. Maybe you felt geographically breathless every place in this world but didn’t want to be anywhere else either. Maybe you were merely leaving every place you’d ever been in the slipstream of somewhere else. That night, we were wild with breaking. You rode the clutch, then accelerated to be alive.

Anna Leahy is the author of Aperture and Constituents of Matter (poetry), Gloss and What Happened Was (chapbooks), and Tumor (nonfiction). She edits Tab Journal and curates the Tabula Poetica series at Chapman University, where she directs the MFA in Creative Writing program and founded Health Humanities.

Image by releon8211 courtesy of Adobe Stock

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