Under the Influence

Under the Influence


Martin drove me back to the university

after a weekend at home. Twenty five miles

to a different universe. That’s what I thought then.

He parked the Impala and walked me up

to my shared room at New Dorms. Want me to come in,

he said. I told him he could go home. Like a princess to a serf.

A princess with apprehension. He turned to the stairs;

I opened the door. My roommate Judy was there,

some friends, the smoky air thick and sweet with grass.

What if my father had come in? I said, my voice, usually too loud

muted by laughter, Dylan’s songs, and stoned exclamations.

Someone was lounging in my bed.

Next day, Martin called. What would I have seen, he said.

Oh, I said, improvising, some friends sprawled everywhere.

You know, college. He didn’t know but he wasn’t thick.

Be smart, he said. Don’t get carried away.

You want to talk to Mama?

I told him I’d call the next day.

I remembered but I didn’t pick up the phone.



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