The night we stay up until 4 am talking about all the things in the world, Mike tells us about his earliest memory, nine months old or maybe five. It doesn’t matter really.
What matters is this: 27 years ago, he stood in his crib, shook the side, thought, “this is what I do.” Mike has never thought like a child in his whole life, I’d wager.
The first time we meet, it is in a sweltering room on the first floor of the Hamilton Smith building at the University of New Hampshire. We are learning to teach 18 year olds how to write. When they tell us to write a bad story, we pair up, write nonsense together with Nate. Mike puts a horse in the story—later, I know this is for Jess, always for Jess.
I think he is a little weird. This is mostly right, but so am I, and it only takes me a few weeks to figure out that doesn’t matter.
What matters is this: Mike speaks no language, writes poems, holds things in his mind I’ve never dreamed up before.