On the Burden of Flesh

A risk-prone boyfriend told me once:
The one appealing thing about death
is a possible striptease in the afterlife.
He drove me at night to his parents’ cabin
in a Texas town without a name.
After hours of sex, we waited naked
at the edge of the lake—a shivering hole—
and in our vibrating, black reflection, found
our nakedness inadequate:
wanted nothing less than for the sky
to rip away from its frame of silence
like a velvet dress from a woman’s body.
No, like human flesh from a perfect bone.

In Search of Touch

First dates are meant to be flirtatious and giggly. In another time, we would be meeting inside a dark downtown bar. Music playing. The stench of sour liquor pinching my nose. He’d ask what I like and order me something smooth. After half a drink, the conversation would begin to flow. I’d ask him a crucial question, “What’s your favorite kind of fry?” He’d say tater tots. “What? That’s not even a fry!” I’d say shoestring dipped in blue cheese because ranch is so over. Later, because he’d be too shy to make a move, I’d ask him to kiss me. This seems to be my move in any time. And we’d make out sitting side by side on barstools all limbs and tongues.


You’ve been conditioned to witness the miraculous—seen every medical marvel flash before your eyes one thousand times on-screen—doesn’t she watch Untold Stories from the E.R.?