From “Old Friends”
OLD FRIENDS (22)
I spent last night in Westchester, trying
to ease you through another heartbreak.
You collected me from the train station,
and we drank the fifth of Jack I mixed
with my flat Grand Central Coca-Cola.
We walked circles through the leaf-filled
drives of River Road. “I bet you haven’t
seen those in a while,” you said about
the stars and I nodded my head, took
a swallow from the Coke can, walked on.
I am not sure when exactly you turned.
Maybe it was the music in that white
boys’ bar, or when we got down
to the vodka, or when I danced
around your living room to Elvis,
drunk as shit, and you grabbed me
by the hipbones and I did not immediately
step away. We went to sleep chastely enough,
and it was not until this morning as I stumbled
through Grand Central that I remembered
half waking in the night to your mouth mid
lick. I can’t break down what you wanted
from me except maybe to remember
where a body you knew years ago
lets you slide around. Alone now
I retreat to my window seat
with my hangover and bottled water.
I accept my culpability: I wore that
short silk skirt, those cowboy boots,
I brought you the whiskey, I have
felt guilty for leaving you for years.
“People don’t change,” you said
as we were walking, speaking
of your girlfriend, and I agree
with you, since I am still
the girl who makes allowances
for everyone. This is not even
a good poem, what I can make
of alcohol and sex and guilt;
I am not inventing anything here:
I am not original in my shame,
nor are you, in your sorrow or your lust.
Since we last
shared a bed
strange in me,
your hand under my t-shirt, up
my back, your leg
you. The body
When I next see you, it will be dark.
I'll wear my t-shirt, the one
I sleep in and stand
just a few feet from you.
You will be nervous
to touch me, worried
I'm sending mixed
I will become
this won’t be
what I want.
I wonder if we will do it there in the hallway or here in the bed.
will happen, after.
I don't think anything
will happen; the body
loves what it loves when it
loves. All these years I slide
little pieces of my life into
your hands and all my
is one of them.
When we touch the refraction
of light will extend beyond
the space / time
continuum and freeze
and stretch and last forever.
I will be soaked in your hands.
AFTER THE HURRICANE
has come to you for comfort
for most of my life but this tim
I am raw as a cut up animal around you
When you take my shirt off the heart shaped leaf
I found in the mud and carried
all day against my breastbone falls
to the floor. You put my hand
around your hard on. Once
you are inside me I can't read
your signals or you send none. Perched
above you I make love for both of us.
Aside from your fingertips light
around each hipbone, you
barely touch me. I think
a thousand sad thoughts
watching your eyelids
flicker and our love fade.