We were nameless except for the number seven.
Seven years of seeing each other grow into young
women for seven hours of the day all seven days
of the week with seven subjects taught by Sisters
in habits. She loved the smell of my hair. I loved
that she could find anything to love about me.
The centre of her palms were so soft, as were
her eyes. She folds her letters carefully in the shape
of tiny shirt pockets. I open them as slowly as I can.
When she sees me across the room her voice carries
over the distance. In her mouth my name becomes
an endless echo and in the darkness I find my way.
Way too naïve at sixteen, he believed that the height
of sophistication was a teddy bear and I found I was
not immune to it. I, too, am silly in my ministrations:
I put his photos on the cover of my Trapper Keeper,
an announcement that I am loved. Today, Monday:
I am loved. Today, Tuesday: I am loved. And so on.
We were too young to come up with our own words.
Bless those who have come before us and described
how hair is a waterfall lightly meeting a lover’s nape.
Bless those who have touched the pad of their thumb
upon sweet lips, bless those who now know the texture
of whispers. I learned to yearn through strangers.
Strangers sitting around a circle decided to play
a game of who would you fuck but there was no
spinning bottle. The power was out and we were
all dying with thirst and desire. We threw names
like currency and it’s the story of my life, isn’t it,
of being found tender yet strange, as if a painter’s
brush made a wrong stroke on the canvas. I’m what
some would call an acquired taste: too much heat,
too much weight. Didn’t think someone would utter
my name. Then his mouth opens. In my mind a man
in a suit hands me a life-sized cheque, and the papers
publish their latest: Fool wins lottery and wrecks her life.
Life of the party, I tell him I like to lick my fingers.
I was at that age when I felt I could be dangerous.
I said, if we were alone we would already be in bed.
His mouth goes dry. He falls silent for hours, and I
could hear everything he is not saying, his words
landing like invisible confetti: kiss and kiss and kiss.
We sit in the dark listening to each other breathe and
I was a fool, sign me up for another cheque. No one
tells you when a word suddenly turns from a promise
to an infringement. Look up tomorrow look up soon
look up before you know it and you’ll find me on my knees
grappling around in the dark, hoping there is still time.
Time to get down to business as you toe off your shoes.
There were two of you in my dreams. A copy of yourself,
exactly as you are. You said, How much do you want me
that one person isn’t enough. I want to peel off your skin.
Climb into your ribcage where your heart is, and live inside
it. Carry me for days on end. We could do that, your voice
muffled between my thighs. Couldn’t we? How come you’re
not scared how come you didn’t say you’re creepy as fuck
how come you didn’t laugh at my grandmother panties how
and howl with the lights on as your mouth closes around me.
Every day we get to love each other in a world that does not
want us I praise our bodies. We could do that. Couldn’t we?