Of Strangers

I perched on a rounded concrete ledge
listening. Your black case open on the firm,
filthy ground. Working gig to gig, dollar to dollar.
Idris, son of a jazzman. Your guitar’s liquid sounds
pealing off the Harvard Square façades, meeting
brick resistance. We talked that day and for a dozen more,
shared meals in restaurants, strolled down one side
of Commonwealth, up the other. Leaves fiery, sky flat.
The brownstones’ tall windows eyeing us, an odd pair.
Hands gloved, scarves around our necks, bunched up.
You, the handsomest man I’d met. Grown. A head above.
Dreads to the middle of your back. Me, baby fat cheeks,
red tresses. Lost little bird. When I complained one day
of soreness, from practicing my own guitar, you pulled
your right arm across my chest, an anchor. Cut, statuesque.
Your torso bent, arched above and around my back.
My scapula unknotted under your left hand’s deft touch.
There was no one else in the house where I lived
in the basement, a babysitter for a wealthy family. You were
a stranger. We were alone. Yet when we slept in my bed,
we slept with our backs to the center, until morning broke
through three white squares in the wall. I saw you
years later at a club on the Lower East Side. Case in hand,
on your way to a gig. It was quick, dark, loud. Floor sticky.
Air sour. Yet I could still make out your eyes. Deep
as before and warm. Looking, not at me, but beyond.
To the world, to the sounds I hope you found.