Before dawn even, zipping past the exit to Myrtle Beach … That’s where my girlfriend was who had a summer job there singing. But I was heading north to see Janet. Hot and muggy, the weather changed at Richmond to rainy, not with a torrent of blades but a drizzle of pins, and chilly. I had to borrow a flannel shirt from Janet—a man’s, which fit me. Janet was renting, along with her college roommate and one other girl, a townhouse in Georgetown. Sometimes, while they were at work, I’d venture afield to a gallery, Corcoran, Phillips; mostly I browsed the neighborhood bookstores and otherwise loitered. I had to ask the girls, because I was getting so many probing looks from guys, if maybe I had an effeminate manner. “You have,” she said, the matronly one whose name escapes me, “just a nice face.” I slept on the living-room sofa. Sunburned, itching like mad, I’d scroll the peeling skin off my shoulders and roll it up into a little ball, then flick it. Overhead, the women were getting ready for bed, their heels conveying thunder while I read by lamplight a poem in Harper’s by Robert Penn Warren, whom Janet and I and her housemate Felicia had met: “A Problem in Spatial Composition,” in which a hawk, like something divine, unseen above a window-framed vista composed of a stone scarp and forest, at sunset enters the frame as if from forever only to go “in an eyeblink.” My wife, who was then my girlfriend, who sang at the beach where noontide had blistered my shoulders— my wife says it’s all about sex. Not Warren’s poem, this story of mine. The thunder, having slung flimsy bras across the shower rod, puts up its feet—the women, nesting. Molting, I clasp the neck of that shirt, whoever’s it is, which I’ll shake out in the morning. The weather whistles past windowsills and under the door, and though it sings like blades’ cold steel, I picture amid the lamplight’s moon on the ceiling a hawk whose shrills are high noon’s killing rays.