You came by. Troubled. It was 1968 and I lived with 3 other guys at Palomar Apartments. There was a party going on . I suggested we repair to the little kitchen and sit at the table. We sat across from one another. You admired the tablecloth.
"It's Indian," I said. "Got it at Pier 1."
Of course it was cheap. None of us had much money in 1968. The name of it got me spending more than I should have: Floral Kavita.
"Where is the poem?"
At this point people staggered and barged into the kitchen, looking for libations and smelling of cannabis. I suggested we clear the table.
"Then what?" She asked.
"Then we drape the tablecloth over our heads and go outside to find the poem."
We did so, felt a sudden privacy under the fabric, left by the kitchen back door and found a lawn that gave onto 14th Avenue. I led us to a bench. We sat.
"Tell me what's on your mind." I said. We could see the lights of cars and porches, but no details through the cotton. We heard only each other.
"I've been thinking about Harry. He wants to get married."
"Congratulations. How do you feel about that?"
"Like an ornament."
"We need a poem, eh? No? What then?"
"All I can think of is an old song, Geo."
"We couldn't carry Harry to the ferry.
We couldn't carry Harry to the shore.
Reason that we couldn't carry Harry
Is we couldn't carry Harry anymore."
I was charmed and astonished. "Where did you learn that song?"
"From my parents when I was little. They would sing it and laugh."
"It goes beyond syntactic double negatives into the grammatically infinite. I'll try to remember." We then did a synchronized somersault off the bench and the table-cloth stayed with us.
5 years later, I was working downtown and encountered her and her sister in the alley where my shop was. They were on their way back to the legal office they worked. We were happy to see each other. I was emboldened and asked, "Did you ever marry Harry?"
They both rolled their eyes and said, "Nooooo!"
Through peripheral sources, I've learned she became an elementary school teacher and married someone she is truly happy with. Happy retirement, dear friend, wherever you are.