[I REMEMBER THE GIRL]
I remember the girl
putting on her sports bra
in the locker room and I do feel
bad but I still think about it.
On the street, at every guy
with a Bills shirt on, I want to say
Let's Go Buffalo, but I don't want them
to think I would ever talk to them.
Last night, at the burlesque show,
I wanted to get on my knees
to see better but I did not
want to be like the men
catcalling show your boobs at the hostess.
To look away from a reflection of myself.
When I went to write a short story
nothing happened to the characters
because I think what is amazing and wild
that can and does happen to people
feels insincere. Each time
I talked to a novelist about this,
on unusually warm fall days, I left
swatches of sweat on the chair
in the shape and outline of my pussy.
I do not like that word but—for now—
something about aesthetic, an avenue to say
I should have not fucking laughed
when I touched the clit of the girl
I had wanted for years. An action, to which,
she said, I need water and thought me over
and that was that.
I got up off the floor
and there was a ladybug nestled
in my collarbone. After all
the poems with a ladybug and that girl,
it was a sick hello. I didn't believe one
would ever land again, but it flew away
before I could take a picture. Attachment
is the root of all suffering, sure,
but we've all agreed to not worry about that.
The first time I orgasmed—another
awful sort of word—was on the orange
shag in my nonna's sitting room,
the blurred out figures of Girls Gone Wild
bouncing in the commercials. Later,
I'd stay up for the Barbie-smooth
censorship of playmates on E! and now
Hugh Hefner is dead
and he was a rapist—a real fact.
I had a favorite pornstar, but he is a rapist
so I quick click out of videos if he pops in frame.
I'm tired of finding ways to not use
the word rapist in a poem
and online I would never
write a route around it.
So much of what I act on
comes from thinking I know other people,
which is hilarious because I barely know myself.
This is not an either-or scenario. These days,
even a vampire would see its reflection—
mirrors no longer rely on a silver backing.
I meant to see myself. I meant to gather
every hair to count carefully;
to make in my mind a beautiful nest
brown, glossed, from every part of my body.