Summer of Love in Philadelphia

By Daniel Wilcox

Twenty-two flights above Rittenhouse Square
in the spring of the fall you carved a smilin' pumpkin
                                         candled at your windowed level,
                                         a light in the times of horror and stress;
          But below, we wandered our nights with
          chapped hands interlocked, pocketed in my coat suede.

          We walked blind streets of revolutionary warmer, earlier days
          and handled paddles, splashing and pulling canal water,
          canoeing near the Delaware,
          swishing and crossing where Washington
          and we escaped near New Hope,
          our newest way from countless foes
          through spaces of pilings of bridges
          of lush foliage over hung.

          We were loving friends three times over
          in the spirit and the soul and the city;
          though warmed in closeness we never caressed,
          for you talked of betweeness and violin practice
          and your distant boyfriend on the coast.
          I called you evenings when I felt
          despair, drafted away from Nam, taught
          to work with lost children handicapped
          by their errant parent's living.
          But summer saw you in Quaker action
          In raining D.C. for King's impoverished ones
                                  while I never saw you ever after.

                    Yet your letters far crossed this land of Guthrie
                    from Reed in the redwoods of Oregon
                    where your boyfriend
                             raised a fist, radical for Black studies.
                But south of teeming L.A.
                in the movement of the angels,
                I couldn't see clenched hands or shattered glass
                like in the new left bank of America so Isla Vista,
Instead searched of the ancient so
                coral deep in the past

                on the wretched Cross spanning the centuries,
                kind hands outstretched and open wide.

                                                          No more passioned letters reach me,
                                                          And Oregon no longer knows you.

                                    But I 'wonder' in this living stream —
                                    And will now hold you up in the Light,
                                    for within my part of you so longs.