One was pale skin and freckles,
hair as copper as the pennies
you’d pressed into your palms,
sweat on your chest, fogged car windows,
making it home by curfew.
Always PG13, always wondering if you were enough
to be loved, always wondering why he didn’t
hunger for your body
like the wolves you read about.
Two was greasy hair and starving hands,
paint underneath his nails that scratched your back,
expected his back scratched.
Awkward bodies pressed together
at all the wrong angles, you
telling him this isn’t what you wanted.
Three was poetry that wasn’t written about you,
sending photographs of your vulnerability,
spending days waiting for a text message
to validate your existence,
star deaths and sickness. He was a wolf
that you had learned not to expect.
Four was midnight conversations—don’t call my phone.
My girlfriend will lose her mind. Well, not my girlfriend,
but she sleeps on the other side of this mattress.
Four was, “Should I do more heroin?” Crying, begging,
“Please, get clean,” from a hotel room in Nashville.
Four was also heavy hands, sleeping with that
pepper spray clenched in your fist—the bruises that
bloomed under your hair line. Four is the poem
you can’t write well enough to erase it from your memory.
Five was a man with a name
like the alcohol on his breath, cornering you
like a predator corners prey,
luring you in with the premise of after work dinner,
no strings attached, everyone is going to be there,
no one is coming;
his vagrant hands roaming
like an empty highway;
your heart hammering in your throat
when you ask him to stop touching you.
Six was a foreign name on your tongue, kissing you drunk
in a beach-town, falling asleep on you
after you cry your way out of his pants
and he falls asleep with his balls, blue.
He goes back to his country,
you go back to class. He never
speaks to you again.
Seven was a warm body on a cold night, the ocean air inciting
exhaustion, the vodka blurring the lines of the road you walked barefoot
at five a.m. Seven was hotel rooms, try not to wake the body in the next bed,
let him buy you a soda from the eighth-floor vending machines.
Eight was, “He’s in prison and I’m leaving, but I don’t want to leave
while he’s in prison – what does that say about being a good person?”
Eight was engaged, a father, peeling condoms from their wrappers
to prevent more children, the backseats of cars, always scanning
the outside world for security guards. Speeding tickets—
carrying my drunk ass out of a bar because I could not walk
and mistaking it for romance.
Nine was a late-night booty call—come over,
teeth in your shoulder,
you’re getting dressed and out the door
thirty minutes later when you drove
forty minutes to be there. Nine was
a wolf with an appetite that was never satiated,
never satisfied. He was city mall arcade, loud and fast feet
and quick to manipulate your fragile heart.
Ten, how do you keep falling in love with the idea of poets,
keep wanting to be written
into immortality, men with honest eyes
and lying keyboards.
Eleven was a mirage, a vanishing act;
he wrote you out of his mornings
because you were a habit that
he thought he could start the New Year without.
He was here one minute, writing you poetry to see you smile,
letting you read the skeleton of his novel; gone the next,
accounts closed, calls unanswered, emails unread. Eleven was
Twelve. Oh, twelve made you want to break every rule
you’d ever set, every limit, made you want
to uproot yourself and replant
yourself somewhere, where the soil
was hot and thick as his Spanish accent,
rolling off his tongue when he reads you Junot Diaz
at two a.m., wanting to cling to his throat like the cigarettes
he smoked daily.
Thirteen was missed interactions, all hours
text messages, “Come to London
and be my girl.” Learning to feel sexy
in your own skin, learning to love
the length of your legs, the corners
of your ribcage. Thirteen taught you
that there is more you are willing to do than you think.
Your mother threatens to sign you up for a Christian dating website
thirteen days after you find yourself lonely,
when you cannot find a worthwhile boyfriend,
when every man who catches your interest
evaporates in this drought. But you remind her
that you are a strong woman,
one who has come from her bones
and your worth is not calculated by having a mate.
You are still a whole person. You
don’t need another body in this bed
to validate you.
1 Recent Comments
No comments yet - be the first to post one!
Would you like to comment?Join ink-circus.net for a free account, or Login if you are already a member.