Your secrets rest in the bottom of your mind deep as pearls in oysters never opened. I thought the weight of my thigh over yours could keep you like kelp caught on driftwood but you move sideways, a sand crab - with ocean choices to ebb to flow or have grains of sand between our skin.
That afternoon we skipped biology shed our shyness at the schoolyard fence laughed swinging toward town one second of a look at me that said you are better than any other girl then showed me the key to his older friend’s apartment, a month of drive-ins and cramped cars building to this vacant dream we climbed those open metal stairs I hung onto his back pocket a butterflied young girl with rushed blood listening for the lock turning over.
On the shallow hide-a-bed we undressed each other like movie couples I thought I’d evaporate, unbuttoning my shirt his eyes brimmed in blue desire without warning completely naked for the first time we made shiny, deliberate love then walked around someone’s living room, orange kitchen, showered together and smoked cigarettes flicked into a beanbag ashtray.
We dressed our separate ways flinched into a spate of sunlight once again two bashful specimens parting chastely on a street corner I could almost hear the clink of cage door my mother faltering in her vodka history teacher’s hand I slapped off my thigh groceries I sacked hoping to buy my way out of it all.
published Amherst Review
Sitting in the Bar Alone on Franklin
Was this my father? Gin and olives Trying not to come home
published Hole in the Head Review
The Pancake Principle
in memory of Charles Johnson
$10 a year will get you membership in The Flat Earth Society including a map, like a phonograph album, and the hundred reasons why Columbus was right. Studios in Hollywood faked the moon landings, which you admit they did well, and you spend a horizon of isolation among tumbleweed and creosote bushes on the edge of the unwaveringly flat Mojave Desert where the view out the trailer window bolsters your unbendable doctrine.
Now you lie horizontal under a flat granite marker in a level patch of grass just the way you like things. Heaven may be a plank of clouds, Hell may be the drop-off at your ice-wall edge.
The earth eclipses the moon, done on a movie set, of course, continues to turn you slow, so slow.
Note: Charles Johnson was the president of The Flat Earth Society.