It isn’t the summer day
or the slight breeze swishing
my hair across my neck
that I remember.
Just the tongue sliding, sticky, up my cheek--
how it, days before, had slipped between my teeth
in the abandoned art studio on campus, how I’d shut my eyes
against it, how I’d pretended this wasn’t just a slimy mistake--
just the way I knew, after that tongue,
unasked for and unwanted, marked my face with spit--
this would be the last time I let a boy kiss me,
knowing I did not want him.
I am not an anteater expert. I don’t know if they really suck up ants like a vacuum, but that’s what they taught me in school, so that’s what I believe. What they didn’t teach me was how it feels to be sucked dry, to be a mound of brown ants at the nose of an anteater, to be kissed so hard it makes a pop against my neck, to be tugged sore, to carry a purple hickey like a flashing siren, blaring owned, owned, owned! What did this boy think was buried beneath my skin? Were you a fleshy prospector, mining for the light tucked just under these white rocks, my clean, young bones?
swearing I like it swearing that all women like it you coat my lips in slobber
and smile. even in the morning with a sleep-coated tongue with sour
breath sour teeth sour slobber sour, sour—
you close your mouth over mine start your steady grumble like it’s that good already.
I try to remember how charming I find your wrinkled thinking brow your sweet voice
under this kiss. I try to remember that I think this could be love but even thinking
is hard to do in this kiss I can’t escape. even if I initiate you find a way
to make it yours to drown me in your leaking tongue. you remind me how free
it feels to breathe.