Photography by Adam Coleman

before the sex:

a party

hung around

till tail lights

only us then

he slid hands

I started to cry

“we don’t have to.”

and

“Do you like to be

a little spoon?”

and

“It’s okay to cry”

courting and all that—



“take care of you.” stuff

and

sleep and waking

in sunrise stranger’s bed

and my best friend

asleep in the next room

later,

a date

Mexican restaurant

and tequila

and later,

his place

he’s pulling

my pants off

and telling me

they aren’t that

flattering

a boys cut

dropped crotch

cords

was I born

to wear flattering

pants—

this is my thought.

and still,

I f*ck him.

don’t do it, I say

but

in my head

and the condom

it’s in his hand

and I feel

n o t h i n g.

and i feel every-

thing

half-fascinated.

half-proving some-

thing

ya know,

to myself?

wanting to know

what it could feel like

to let someone new

inside me

now I’m naked

and he keeps

telling me

how sexy I am

but he can’t cum

and he’s remorseful

and frustrated

and ashamed

I comfort him

it happens, I say.

it’s okay, I say.

it happens

to women

all the time,

I say,

and men too.

I’ll be the big spoon

days,

weeks,

months,

later,

after the sex

and more sex

and the kind

where he cums

and I cum

and the kind

where we don’t

and I ask him

to handcuff me

cuz it’s the kind

of place I’m in

“I don’t want anyone

else touching you,”

he says.

what he doesn’t say:

what is your love language

it’s a privilege to touch you

what do you want

what do you need

you are intelligent

you are capable

you are beautiful

I am lucky

to spend time

with you

who was little you?

you are worthy

of love

and I’d like to

love you

if you will let me

how do you like

to be touched?

is this okay?

do you feel safe?

does this feel good?

tell me how you like

to be held

to be fed

to be taken

to bed

and me,

I’m in love with a girl

I’ve never touched.

and her laugh

tastes like sunlight

and she tells me

truths

she’s never shared

on midnight

park benches

and I want

to belong

to her

I think

I get a little gayer

every time a man

tries to control me

contain me

or right me

on feelings

belonging to me

or explain to me

how every little

thing should be.

I get more

_independent_

every time

any time

any person

desires only

to own me

I’ll collect

the moon

with bare hands

for who sees

me who frees

me in a wink

round a kitchen

sink passing me

a cup of tea.

cornered,

I. will. run.

I tell him

it’s her

it’s her

I want.

I want her

think I could

love her

I’ve never spoken

these words

out loud

my throat

a door with

a busted bolt

and here’s the rub:

he lets me

practice

going down

his head

on the ground

in the carpet

Gently, I kiss

his side-ways

bearded

mouth.

stoney,

and giggly

and

stone cold

sincere,

I lick his pair of

bristle lips

and imagine.

he sets me free.

I set me free.

she sets me free.

we set me free.

I wipe his tears.

and decide

he can stay

stick around

ya know, my life.

different.

yeah different.

but he can stay.

maybe all along

we’d been meant

to bro down

or un-bro

ourselves

for me to feel

with more

than lips

all the ways

I’d like to love

a woman.

maybe I’m that woman.





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