Some Winters Never End
In middle school a guy said,
Do you give it? when he saw
the cover of my tennis racket.
Give what? I asked. Head.
Later walking to class I asked
a friend what he meant. She snapped
off an icicle and licked her lips,
slipped what is frozen into her
mouth, back and forth, ran her tongue
to the base. It’s easy and it won’t be
so sharp, so cold. Sensual education.
That year the snow seemed to go
on for months, the icicles like spears
aimed at me, near every place I wanted
to stand. What melts can’t be dangerous.
What you lick, can’t hurt you.
Several winters later in a cold
back bedroom, the guy from our school
pressed her against the bed, ripped
her button-down shirt, poured
a wine cooler into her mouth, if you don’t
suck it, if you don’t… And outside,
the icicles were no longer a choice and
she learned some winters never end.
Years later, during a snowstorm
in bed with my husband, I pull down
the covers, run my tongue across his thigh,
his skin warm and nowhere close
to the color of ice, the sound of snow
cracking on our roof, a storm thawing,
I think about her as I open my mouth.
With Your Hands Against My Waist,
It’s Hard to Remember All the Times I’ve Failed
You’ve probably heard all the times
the park benches were filled with men
or pigeons, filled with people who stop
to kiss the skin of someone they love or want,
so many times we wish to rest during a day,
pivot to something else, turn our bodies away
from what we know or don’t—like the dream
I had where I stumbled into a field of sunflowers
wearing only a slip and you said I was dancing,
falling or failing, just one letter off—
a celebration or a suitcase of faults I carry
until I realize it’s easier to undress than to futuretrip,
it’s easier to respond with a thumbs-up, press
rewind again and again to watch the video
of a friend and hear the way he almost sounds
like the wind, if the shadows that warmed me
had a sound they’d be the red wine I drink, how
someone told me in Irish there’s no word for love,
but one way to say it is, You are my music, so
I listen, until all the sunflowers have been put to bed.
Heartrending Waltz with Social Media
For a moment I read it as heart-trending
as if our humanness was beating
across Facebook feeds and on the inside
we were sorrow with a Twitter account,
we were typing our pain in 280 characters,
Just want to disappear, wish I had
someone to talk to. And no one answers. And
someone responds. Sorry. Heartrending.
Heart trending. And so we send
our sadness electronically like how I used to
send prayers to the stars as if God
was mixed up between the constellations
looking down at me and sparkling, and maybe
if God is in each of us, we’ve just found
a more precise way to connect, hashtag
prayers, hashtag God, #Imallalonehere, which
is misread as I mall a lone here, and no one
responds, the cursor blinking, a heart
beat on the glowing universe propped
on our desk, all the pixel stars,
all the connections almost on our fingers.
Photograph of Kelli Russell Agodon by Ronda Piszk Broatch.