All the losses we never knew we had clamber up our rib cages, sure- footed as only grief can be. We stretch out adolescent bodies on swings in the park, humid nights growing black around our movements, arms loosely holding onto the chains as we fly toward becoming someone else, adults we won’t recognize in the mirror. Below, empty beer cans lie on the grass in a random pattern, like the sticks Chinese fortunetellers used to find a hexagram in the I Ching. We all had futures, some shorter and sadder than others. There was a girl who died young. I don’t know from what. She wrote poems she never showed me or anyone else. We made out once by Cross Lake, getting high and avoiding cottonmouths rustling in the bushes. She was busted a couple of nights later. I managed to get away just in time and watched the arrest from behind a tree, afraid to move. I took a taxi home and crawled in through a window. The police knew I’d been there but didn’t have enough to pull me in. I don’t know how many other times I got lucky. Friends did time in Angola or Huntsville in Texas. I went to college up north, then to Britain and France, walking through the stone basement at the Louvre in the morning with no one around, just me and the Assyrian gods, buying new clothes, books of poetry, taking the train to Edinburgh, where I lived above a Scottish pub, a Dusty Springfield imitator singing loudly till I fell asleep. When I got back, my friends all said I’d lost my Louisiana accent. I sounded like someone from nowhere.