Like This

On the winter morning that the coffee took extra long

to brew, foreplay came in the way of hands gripping

my throat and your pointed fingers lodged in the soft

of my mouth. I believed then I was giving you a rest

on my tongue, some break from the other usual and

normal parts of me. Permission feels like letting go

of a secret. I’d never been touched so nicely before.

Once I grew up, I wondered if my mother had been

the kind of woman to lie. She’d rub cheap perfume

all over her red neck as if she were treating a cramp.

Her hands, light and trembly, held her skin together

as best as they could. When I gave you permission

that day, I thought of my mother’s jaundiced body

lying in the naked hospital bed she’d die in later.

I forgot that the word hospice was supposed to be

synonymous with care. The coffee tasted so thin.

Was she ever loved like this?

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