I have been looking
forward to this
sterile, safe place
where women are
to be gentle and quick.
Their job is not to
He is with me.
I had to let him come—
The door opens into
receptionist sits behind two layers
of bulletproof glass.
The glass is the first thing
that scares me:
reminder that people have been killed
for doing what I want
done to me.
Sheets and sheets of
stark black type detailing
signs of problems,
how not to end up here again.
it will feel like during and after.
Buy maxi pads: there
might be bleeding.
The cool, objective tone of twelve-point
The standard thickness of paper.
counselor has straight
brown hair. Her desk is steel.
forget her name
immediately. She asks all the questions
parents wanted to, but didn’t.
I hate her.
doctor is blonde.
She doesn’t meet my eyes.
arranges her instruments and dilates my cervix.
She runs the
machine, which sounds like a compressor.
She tells me things,
Now you’ll feel my touch.
feel a pinching.
Now it’s almost done.
counselor holds my hand
so I won’t scream or run away.
I love her
People Have Affairs
The most Edenic
moment of my life,
the year I spent away from genteel
away from college, ivy, and reliable
picking tomatoes and weeding on a farm in Colorado,
day-long moment spent away from the farm
on the ridge
hiking in the dark carrying pans and
spreading those blankets and curling together like
waking in the morning to his face fresh with
making love, naked and shameless under the great
as though we lay on the altar of a cathedral,
he had remembered the condoms, and my favorite
The best part: remaining naked all
following the shade around the ponderosa pine,
aloud and talking about nothing memorable,
simply being in the
most honest way we knew how—
which, of course, was a
because he was engaged and I was a lesbian.
a woman was waiting for him.
In Connecticut, a woman was
waiting for me.
is it really betrayal if the pine trees
nor the scrubby oaks, nor the
wouldn’t they give some sign if what
Years later I saw Brokeback
and I was back there under the wide Western
pinned between thighs of wild mountains
by the honesty
of outlaw kisses.
I recognized those men as
their passion as what we shared
obligation and work
in a place to which we can never return.
I arrived at his party smelling of her, the woman
who’d fucked me in dormitory light with no candle, no
romance, just an “Oh my god—” Then with a
“we’re late,” she pulled me out of the room. I
found him where the crowd spilled into snow and skeletal
moonlight. He handed me a beer and his latest book I wanted to
father the next batch of those poems, wanted to be immortalized
for breaking his heart. The world shimmered, she disappeared, I
grabbed the lapels of his black wool coat, but he wouldn’t
kiss me. He was inside a poem, fifteen years old, it was that
memory when he got stood up. Everything horrible repeats itself.
He said, “Your girlfriend’s coming,” and
shuffled away, the sexiest train wreck to ever grace the earth.