There’s a lilt
like an orchid bloom
when I think of him. That was romance
at 19. That was the one-bedroom

walk-up, first-time sex in a Nashville
furnished room. Was it a lie
to say vows in red
velvet and Venetian lace? Say yes

while still dusted by guilt
of crucifix & for our parents
sake? We had no skills
or balance & Vietnam

threatened—a cobra
coiled in a basket. Years pass
like torrents of mud. I don’t
regret the blunders of young

adulthood, false steps, or lost
vows.  I’ll bear a relationship,
however hapless or brief, that tethers,
to orchid or root. If I am a many

colored bolt you are an intermittent
accent of blue. Bespangling
my canvas, you are almost swallowed
by my red & purple, my Van Gogh

patterns of yellow. I conjure
you a few times a year & I usually
smile, not because I want you back
but because we happened at all.