Freshman Year

I stumbled to her dorm room
with a bruised lip and blood-stained shirt,
clawed and pulled by a frat boy
who called me a liberal fag
for protesting the war in Iraq.
She iced my lip,
made me uncurl my fists
to hold my hand.

We say nothing now, dressed in graduation robes,
separated by a few rows on the football field.
We pulled into the parking lot the night before.
“You still haven’t found God or a job.
You should just move back home,” she said.

Even if I wore a suit and tie,
followed her to Sunday mass,
she’d accuse me of sneering
at the priest behind her back,
or sniff for beer on my breath,
as though I was still that kid
who needed her our freshman year.