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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