Another Small Gathering
Someone had laced the pot,
my date shape-shifting
in the car’s plush seat.
I rolled with it, his tongue,
not sexy or soft, but possibly
earnest. I must have bit him
on purpose to regain my breath,
redirect him away from my throat.
Get it on, bang a gong, get it on,
his favorite song on the mixtape.
I was a liar, called my parents
hours later from a distant Finger Lake
to say I was sleeping at Suzanne’s.
Is a hydra like the zebra mussel
taking hold here, forever altering
the ecology of Keuka and me, half-dressed
in his younger sister’s top bunk,
my bony hips against his,
the popcorn ceiling scraping my back
each time I was flipped over.
I’d foreseen this happening
the second we left the gymnasium
with its stupid decorations.
Through the bay window of a child’s room,
the black water licked the dock,
the huge lake a dream
into which I threw my still boyish body.
He wasn’t aware of me,
nor I of him. How inelegant and sad
our untangling was, how we’d misremember it.
Copyright © 2019 by Lindsay Bernal. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 25, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.