I saw a double bass and thought of you.
When you dyed your hair blue
The principal told you it wasn’t allowed
So you dyed it back
And it turned green out of spite.
I remember when you took my book away,
Sat on my lap and asked me to touch your tattoo.
(The first time I’d touched anyone’s back)
I traced Sanskrit on your skin and you moaned aloud
I blushed so hard
I wanted to disappear into one of the tuba lockers.
…I’m braver now with men’s backs…
I remember how you ran the basses,
The happiest of string sections.
How you teased me
For memorizing Rondo Alla Turca
I played it from memory when I forgot my sheet music
Incredulous big violins in the back
You asked me to teach you violin once
For your band – your bland garage band.
I did, partly for the money,
Partly to correct your shoulders.
Nothing came of it.
It was nice to watch you play.
You were voted best dancer of your class.
You graduated and left the band room quiet.
We turned somber and kept standard time.
I went across the ocean.
I grew up and outward.
But when I see the cross-country runners,
Or an oddity in the rows of suits,
Or when I see a double bass,
I get a fleeting smell of resin in my nose
And a passing, pleasant memory of you.