by Emma Wilson
I was born in Virginia
in a blue house,
less shoebox than small cake,
which could be embroidered
with any number of sweet names.
When I was young a not-young man
took my picture, prone at the Motel 8,
and ate me first over my panties
before thumbing them loose from my hips:
something I once couldn’t fathom
but can now. These days, T and I confess
we look up Sharon Tate, prone and pregnant,
we confess then lock our doors
when checking the mail. The sky assumes the unreal
texture of tapestry, and clouds
exist even when I assume
they couldn’t possibly, then a light
through the top window
of the house down the block.
On the train I overhear I’d like to buy
Ted Bundy a Coke. I’m fine,
on a seltzer kick, doing my writing in the tub.
My notebook propped on the edge,
sweating. Just doodles, nothing
fantastic, coming into the awareness
that it’s nothing fantastic.
Yet I feel a sudden muchness,
and need a soak to sort the particulars.
In a parking garage, a nurse is tucked under her car,
frozen to the ground.
When I put my bra on
I do it by leaning over
to cup each breast and center it.
I even pray some, these days,
in line at the grocery
when my phone rings. A quick Thanks, and I mean it.
I soak in Epsom which keeps
the sleep demon at bay.
He called so much I called him my boyfriend,
face full of nails at the foot
of my frozen bed. He comes—
but less and less. These days, my thumbs
punch holes in the lace
when I pull my panties on,
but I pull them on the same:
one leg, then the other,
then think about something else.