Sunday, September 12, 2010


they lived four blocks
from downtown
Wilmington, North Carolina

and almost every night
one of them would get so drunk
out at the bars
that he would not be able
to make it
the last block home
to their apartment on Market St.

whichever one it was
would jump a wrought iron fence
and go to sleep
in the graveyard next to
the church

when I would talk to them
on the phone
while I was living out
my own joke life
800 or so miles north
on a godforsaken island off the Cape
they would not sound bothered
by the near nightly event
both seemed to have accepted it
as a simple fact of life

of living the way we were all living
drinking lots and caring little

finally, one of them
the one who wasn’t the Marine
packed off to rehab in the fall
and I moved down
to take his place

I arrived late in the morning
with fresh bourbon on my breath
and after waking up the Marine
we went strolling
out to the bars
laughing about how much fun
we would have
living together once again

the following morning
after waking on a patch of soft grass
surrounded by tombstones
I jumped the wrought iron fence
back onto the sidewalk
and stumbled home

when my friend came to the door
to let me in
he asked where I’d been
and whether I’d gone home with a girl

walking past him
towards the bathroom
I said, “I woke up in that graveyard
down the street from here. So that must mean
that tonight is your turn.”

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