After our work of shuffling
between tables and kitchen, fetching
and smiling and nodding, we go out
for drinks, sit in a barely lit bar
and you dare me to smoke
your cigarette, tease
me because I’ve never
inhaled. I take the dare because
we are drunk
and the mascara around your eyes
but instead of putting the Marlboro
to my lips, it is your own mouth
pushing wet smoke past my tongue,
your fingertips pressing
the back of my neck
so I can’t pull away. My lungs catch
the clouded air you gave me
and I cough, hard, as if breathing
for the first time.
It was easy to forget she was
a man as we watched the cant
of her hips she lip-synched to
Kelly Clarkson whipped her long
red wig around wide shoulders when
the chorus came we sang it up to her
an offering to a rhinestone goddess at a velvet
temple bleeding ecstatic in the feeling of
an exotic parade and dollars waved into
the crush of a
dance floor after the trance of peacock
feathers I don’t know whether the hand on
my ass is hers or his but the bass is
thumping and what does it matter who I thump
with tonight in this eternal twilight.
The dark birds, sick of home, make their V
across an angry summer sky.
if you have this urge or how many times
your fingerprints have dirtied an unfamiliar
doorknob, anticipating the twist.
Is there power
in the patient wait? I have mastered this
while you were away, sent overseas before
we could re-align our bodies into the cleave.
I want to meet you at the airfield, but I am
forbidden. In your letters with foreign postmarks,
you tell me the crowds may be swollen
Did you forget my hips
are the sharp cradle, a martini glass?