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Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA
1965

O Fortuna, began the Carmina Burana,
drums pounding like the blows of Fate,
you are against me. Went to the concert
with Vissers, slight, pale, sardonic; no one
called him Jim. Afterwards we kissed,
ended up laughing, just friends.

One rainy evening, sitting against
illuminated pillars, he said his mother
refinished a child’s rocking chair
for when he had children. He laughed
as though she’d been obtuse, said,
I’ll be dead before I’m twenty-five.
I’ve always known that.
I didn’t know

what to say; what would I say even now?
The next fall, he was in the hospital
with a heart infection, said he was on drugs
all summer, never slept,

asked if I saw a black girl named Sharleen,
to tell her hello, said he was tired,
needed to hang up. I called the next week,
but by then he was dead. O Fortuna….

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