You don’t know the first thing about who you are
I doubt I’ll come much closer much sooner
Than anyone else who’s ever really tried

Oh well

You don’t know beauty when you see it
Unless you see it in the old light of a sun long since
Gone never to be remembered except by staring 

At a photo of us in grades eleven and twelve smiling in October
Staring for the last time at the painted frame now in the 14th grade and
Placing us in a black shoe box and then placing that shoe box on the floor

Next to several old pairs of shoes that happen to include those stocky cleats
Built for stocky boys to run around in for a few hours every night for a few months every fall}
As they fall on poorly called plays under the weight of stockier boys heads steaming in the cold

Lineman cleats purchased on sale at the mall with your father for $30
To later be worn on the all-purpose-astro-turf field of
Our future rival high-school (grades 9-twelve) 2 years

Before you were in high school and you can recall how at
13 you wore them cheap and filthy onto the field with pride
And how you won that day that championship at last handily

You wonder if any of your coaches fathers husbands got drunk that night
As you their sons players hopes slept after a day of frozen facemasks crushing small fingers
And if they had promised themselves they wouldn’t drink
And if they did anything they regretted once they had
And if they got into arguments with moms wife cheerleaders
And if they cried harder than if you had lost though they would have
Pretended not to for your sake as you know you would have been expected to
Weep but you did not lose and maybe they did not get that drunk
And maybe they did not raise their voices in anger but in joy and joy alone 

Eludes you always because you put it away in an oversized black shoe box
Along with other memorabilia including other less dramatic more colorful photos of us in fall
And notes mostly notes written on lined paper mostly written in grades eleven

And twelve which is oddly were you find yourself with increasing and startling frequency
Grades eleven and twelve and perhaps you think of them more often than you should
Don’t taint that halcyon time with unheeded reminiscence 

Don’t open that black box of that time those times in parking lots and
Twin sized beds don’t go there and never in fall
Again to your knees remembering separate memories 

Now bound by unknowable neurons that fire far too close together
And always in fall separate them ponder them apart from one another
They we do not belong together were are should be 5 years apart

You are not 13 and we are not 18 and we are not bound by anything stronger than memory
Though now these memories have met grade 7 meets eleven and twelve
For the first time and will not forget them

They are together now and they are always there
And maybe you are there now
And maybe you promised yourself to leave
And maybe you are very bad at keeping promises you never really make to yourself
And maybe you can still feel that primordial October always October on your face
In November or even sometimes April when you stare into a candle or 21
Candles soon in grade 15 which comes fast and still faster
September falls to October falls to November
Which opens its mouth wide to expose our many months of white teeth

Which you lost 7 of in grade 7 when you were still 13 on a day in snow
In most likely January but also possibly February sitting in a leather metal chair
Wearing the leather and felt yellow and green jacket won 2 or possibly 3 months

Beforehand wearing those cheap filthy cleats that now sit on the oak floors of my
Bedroom next to that box that I filled past filling with you always in disbelief
That I somehow ever walked onto a field in fall and hurt someone badly for fun