I'm watching a silver ankh with colonel-wings insignia

soldered to it, staring as it swings from the rearview mirror.

Loop-and-crossbar shadows spin, while the Rolling Stones

sing "Wild Horses" on the tape deck. The ankh and chain

were presents from my first leave after Air Force basic.

A woman I was with was breaking up, and gave it to me.

That unhappy Christmas, she said, It means Enduring Life.

I was 18, she was (maybe) 16. But she was my first love.

For years, I would watch it swinging and remember her.


I turn off the Firebird. The 8-track falls quiet, mid-song.

My wife Sherry and I get out. Sherry holds her holiday loot

in her hands. For now, I leave mine in the backseat. In the bags.

Inside, snow is in her hair. In mine. We shake it off, though

this may be becoming a moment wild horses couldn't drag

from you or keep you from. We hang up our winter coats.

I grab a Heineken. Sherry is standing in the kitchen light.

We kiss. Then kiss again. And I hear a car door open.

I look out a window. Outside, gusting wind sounds


like someone whose speech has been marred by a stroke.

The dome light inside the Firebird is blazing in the lot below.

I'm out the door and down the stairs, shouting and swearing.

The thief hears me. Raises up. And I see him as the shape

sprinting with a boxed blue dress shirt under his arm. I run

after him. Under a streetlamp at street's end, he pulls up.

I'm close enough to see he has the shirt and the ankh.

Then I'm watching as he drops the shirt. Takes off.

Don't tell me, all these years later, I should have


gotten over the theft. Don't talk to me about loss.

Hanging onto anything is an art. It may be foolish,

given that what a thief will drop isn't worth having

and what he keeps is about what you thought it was.

Maybe it's that both these women are lost to me now.

Maybe risk and recovery are two stones we roll forever.

I know I see sailboats on a shirt and think, This is life:

not getting what you want but wanting never to lose

what bandit-Time has left you, besides breathless.