5.12 / December 2010


Plastic bags rustled as if they were trying to open something
in each other. I expected her worn sigh, her evening
embrace, the whir of the refrigerator when she placed milk on
its top shelf. That night, I heard her rough cough, the flat
sound that the couch made when she sat. Soon, she received
last rites in an empty hospice room and filled it with her song.
I didn’t know it then, but that was love, dragging what was left
of her body, filling the space with giving.

Dewey Beach, 2008

Full of cheap beer and $2 rail drinks,
my body is hot with wanting. I undress

him. The rusted bar light steals
through the blinds of his rented room.

We stretch and bounce and yaw until morning slights.

In the middle of it all, he tells me that
he loves me, that meeting me can’t

be a mistake. Later, he walks me to my
apartment. The summer air turns

to chill and sand darts at our calves.
He asks if he can stay the night,

to feel what it’s really like to love me.
In the morning, we comb the beach

for cracked seashells, for stones, for glass.
I trace his name in the sand with my feet.

We watch the parasails, their wings pulled crisp,
bright hues strange for Delaware.

I forget that I belong to someone else.

Later that day, my boyfriend calls from states
away. He asks if I’m having a good time on my trip.

He tells me that he misses my hips. He is touching
himself. He asks me how wet I am. “A lot,” I lie.

His voice rises. “You’re so dirty,” he says.