Even now, I worry that no pleasure
will ever rival the feeling of being sixteen
and leaving work for the afternoon,

peeling the green polo shirt from my body
and racing home to drink a beer,
or stare at the cloudless blue sky

until it flattened me beneath it
like a jump boot. I’ll do almost anything
or more often, nothing, to taste

this feeling in adjacent forms, until
I’m up late weeping about the 90s and all
that they entailed—the personal computer,

the chicken pox vaccine, “No Diggity,”
and some vision for the future that began
in the basements where we gallivanted

under dim rays which always illume
occult behavior. You are in this version too:
love-drunk, leaning on the loadbearing beam

of an underground room, helping to keep
the building standing—see how love
softens? The heart becomes immune

so that no bug can afflict us like that
the second time. Remembering
the night we swung our stolen swords

through crowded apartments in Alphabet City,
terrifying partygoers with impressions
of heat lightning, or Ohio when we climbed

atop holy rocks and whistled with the birds—
rapture cannot purchase, can only rent in my mind
which turns thoughts of rapture

to raptors, to swallows, to strep throat,
to tongue depressors, and the ascendency of 401ks
over pensions. What I want is to forget all jokes

and laugh like it was the first time. There are things
I wish I’d never seen so that I could see them again
and maybe this time savor them like a dessert.

What I’m talking about is freedom! though I could be
talking about chasing any high, love, or wildness,
each with their eroding returns. What I wouldn’t give

for an afternoon in 2003, returning from a field trip
on a Friday in April as wet, bifurcated leaves
of Kentucky coffeetrees brushed the roof and sides

of the bus, and we were just forty-five minutes from home.
It wouldn’t even have to be that moment exactly—
I just want another one that feels exactly like it.