Not a Warning, Not a Challenge, Not an Instruction Manual
I once slept with an older man who eclipsed
every sliver of light in his apartment with blankets,
duct tape and ancient maps of New York.
He flinched awake every hour
on his mattress on the floor
because his childhood stalked him with a knife
at the other end of his eyelids. I orgasmed
to knowing how to make him feel better.
This was the man I used
to cheat on the boyfriend whose parents blew out
birthday candles over a webcam.
While they ate cake in the computer screen,
I reached under my bell jar and pulled out
my mom. Pulled out her chain-smoking boyfriend.
I pulled out my alcoholic friends, all the rutty
strangers with fail
engraved on their necks. And I sat--
cross-legged—in a field of their wild limbs,
which no one could ever climb past.