The Innisfree Poetry Journal

by Wendy Taylor Carlisle

What started me up then?
Under the lights
of Jay-Vee games, Fall's excitement
gathered in a boy's dark skin.
I could feel him, a blood twin,
both of us pounding.
January rolled in
from the icy parking lot
as I walked away with a lanky boy
who played round ball.
When we broke up in March.  He cried.
By May, it was an Irish runner.
Shorts were tighter then.
It was only one year.  I apologize.

His sister found him barefoot, a poured-out Jack Daniels
at his elbow.  She said, the life of meat ends in hopeful annihilation.
I said, that man gave me the best smooch I ever had.
He personally abhorred the air-kiss, the cheek-brush, loved instead
to press his real naked belly to my back.  I have a snapshot
of him looking over his shoulder across the airport tarmac
and another, leaning like he always did, against a satiny fender
that just screamed, California!  I'll leave you later,
he joked as he lugged love's real estate
over another border, describing every bluff and scarp along the way.
He knew about the Rocky Mountains, the Oklahoma State line.
He taught me to expand across a Utah horizon
in those first provisional months when my actual size, my narrowness,
didn't come into it.  Then he did leave me, turned off east,
on his way to another Carolina, his face
puffed up with passions he'd saved for later.
But he never meant to go for good.  I hunkered outside
in the southern summer.  He always meant to open the door.

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