The Professor Asks Me to Write a Joyful Poem

One without drugs or sadness
or mention of your death. One
in which you don’t beat your fists
bloody against a palm. I am
disobedient as is joy as is you,
as is the better version of the truth
that lives inside the defense. Is it more
profound to say walking towards
or walking away? Somehow, with me,
you’re always doing both: forgetting
the air mattress & your Greyhound
ticket, then forgetting to breathe.
Is forgetfulness a form of joy
or of disobedience? The day I forgot
the plunger at Ace Hardware
was the day you forgot to put my car
in park. You were fifteen, so
my fault, but as the car rolled
nearer the storefront, we laughed
through the panic because joy is you
is disobedience is me, is the weather
we last looked upon your face.
A shit storm, you’d have said,
as we ran out to the parking lot, pelted
by the sky’s sadness & with nothing
for a shield, while I was thinking
how nice it would have been
to spend a day with you in the rain.