I feel naive when I think of it now,
how carelessly I stood before him,
like a ballet dancer in a dressing room
bright with the backs of other girls.
This was before the coldness he nursed
and kept warm between his thighs.
I waited too long for a thaw—he waited too.
Taking him into my mouth, I knew the ache
of winter. I heard the silences
grow as a field of stones between us.
When I look back at my body, young
in the bedroom dark, lit by a perpetual city,
I am gripping a rock in my right hand
and he is gripping a rock in his right hand.
We face each other, muscles poised for sex
or war. Who dropped the rock?
Who cast it? I’m unsure,
even now, who cried mercy first.