9.3 / March 2014

All the Stories I Ever Told Myself

                                                                                            all the stories
i ever told                          myself the woman
                recoils         raccoon carcass around her neck white gloves
                        recoils from the sailor his white hat a sun burning in place of a head
his hands grabbing her
             thigh fingers making
indents                                      all the stories i had ever told myself                      about her
                                                                                               and how she did not want
to be                                                                               kissed.
all the stories i had ever told myself                about         how he
                                                                                                            kissed her anyway
the shutter opened      a millisecond before           but i was sure
   of my story i saw            her shrug her shoulders to her ears        as the shutter opened
i was mad
       at the photographer and the raccoon woman’s friend to the left      (was that
                                                      her friend?) laughing with her mouth hanging
I was mad at the                             photographer
                                                                                     “exploiter!” i was saying
  in my head         all the stories i ever told myself               were sure the gloved woman
                                                                                                       did not want
                                                                                                       did not want
                                                                                                       did not want
                                                                                                                                      to be kissed

Erica Bodwell is a poet and attorney from Concord, New Hampshire. Her poems have been published in Stone Highway Review, Alliterati, The Smoking Poet, FictionWeek and other fine journals.
9.3 / March 2014