The red-headed Irish girl at the hostel
in Lugano travelling with the horse
she groomed. The Anaïs Nin fan
in Perugia who handwashed her fine sweaters.
The American who said she never washes her face
and carries no money. The girl from Rapid City
who let me play “Piece of My Heart” on her stereo
all summer. The staffers with whom I camped under the stars
where it’s easy to share hopes. We woke
to buffao grazing in front of the lodge.
The tour bus driver who gave two of us waiters
a ride into Custer for a night of jitterbugging.
The long-haired fellow from the Gold Pan Saloon
with whom I careened through the Black Hills
until dawn on a spiritual Sunday morning.
After my Karmann Ghia’s engine locked up
and two vets pushed me off the highway,
I stayed with a girl I met at Wendy’s in Sandusky.
That night in bed we discussed “The Turn of the Screw”
for class the next day. The two guys with whom I rode
from Iowa City to NYC. They enjoyed Saturday
morning cartoons and lost their way crossing
the bridge. They did the driving and I provided massages.
The hugs at the airport with AP Lit essay readers.
The poets who shared their souls.