We lived in a little red house in the thick woods next to the fancy golf course
The grass in the backyard was tall and deeply over-grown.
So I got a Spanish goat.
He jumped the fence and ate the grass on the green instead.
They took him away.
And I had to rescue him from the pound.
They had said they had no goat.
But there he was between the pig and the peacock.
I took him home in the back seat of the car.
He chewed my hair all the way home.
People rolled down their windows to ask why I had a deer in the backseat.
At home he demanded crackers and broke the water bed.
He had to go back where I got him from.
He would not stop baa-ing unless he was in bed with us.
He missed the ducks that had been his friends.
And went back to be with them.
The grass grew uncontrollably.
I missed him dearly.
Did he miss me?
Like he missed the ducks?
I got an honor and went away for the summer.
Tracy stayed in the little red house.
When I came back there was a semi in the driveway.
And a man bouncing a basketball in the house.
Tracy said it was ok.
I should stay.
But the guy came back.
And men called at night to see if she wanted to go to Mexico.
I dropped out of school.
I couldn’t read a thing.
Facts no longer interested me.
I wanted to write a novel.
I wrote just one sentence.
Really just a part of one.
“She had chocolate eyes”
That’s all I could get.
When I was away I had seen a girl watching television in a dorm late at night.
She had chocolate eyes.
When the last show was over and we were finally alone, I asked her out.
We went to a lake.
In a forest.
And sat still.
I was thrilled.
I asked her to sleep with me when we got back.
She said yes, but she had to make a phone call first.
She called her boyfriend in Wyoming.
He was home, so though she wanted to, she couldn’t, she said.
At the end of the summer I drove her home across country.
I left her with her boyfriend at a used car lot.
I cried all the back to California.
And dedicated my thesis to her.
We were young then.
I am old now.
But she is the same in my mind.
I have never seen her since.
I first saw Tracy from afar.
Locking her bike.
I asked myself what sort of man gets a woman like that.
Then I met her by surprise working where I worked.
Though I had no prior experience, I pursued her.
She had just broken up with a boyfriend.
It was too early to get involved, she said.
I had no idea what to do.
So I used a movie I had seen.
I said let’s see how close we can get naked without touching.
To this day I am shocked and grateful it worked.
It was my first time.
Late, I know.
I was late because they told me Sex was Sin.
But it was more complicated than they said.
It seems a grace now.
And seemed a glory then.