This was back when payphones worked, and we bought record albums and drank flavored coffee. You scribbled in your notebook in those days. A serious poet. I bought beer, played pinball, read thick books whose spines creaked open and then shut.

This was back when, already asleep on my floored futon, I’d hear a scratching on my screen. It was summer, and we were young. I’d open the door. You there, poet. Sheepish. I’d let you crawl back in.

This was back when love was a board game we sometimes decided to play; we sometimes followed the rules; I sometimes let you win.

This was back when people ate donuts and didn’t think about “health.” The donut shop opened 24 hours; its neon glowed for blocks those endless nights.

This was back when that was enough—to wake up to see a rose propped in a mason jar half-filled with water, a cake donut on a paper plate, the smell of hazelnut coffee creeping from the kitchen. You softly banging cupboards looking for two clean mugs.