52|250's Third Quarter Review

Week # 39 – Password

Hands by Michael J. Solender
Love by Matt Potter 

“I’ve met someone,” Trent beams down the phone.

Thank God, I think. The drought has broken.

“You must meet him.”

Standing on the corner, I wonder if Trent’s new boyfriend will look like any of the exes: tall and muscled, like Rodrigo, Manny and Bruce? Petite and muscled, like Kim, Jackie and Ba? Or hairy and muscled, like Spike, Max and Bruce (doing double duty ten years and a new body later)?

“Hi, stranger.” Trent’s arms enclose me. A bursting warmth shines through his eyes.

“This guy’s worked wonders,” I say.

“I’m like a new man,” Trent trills. Then holds up his hand, as if pledging allegiance. “Wait: I am a new man!”

“Come in,” he says, leading me through a side door. And into a church. Which I’d noticed while waiting but thought was just a meeting point.

Trent stops before a statue of a buff Jesus. “Meet the new man in my life.”

Trent’s had many phases: Madonna, Bette, leather, water sports, rollerblading, haiku, chicken queen, rice queen, muscle queen, daddy. But religion? This is new.

But there’s no denying Trent looks a different – certainly happier – person.

“How serious is this?” I say.

He lays his hands on my arm. “Come with me to my prayer meeting tonight.”

I look for a chink, to find the Trent I’ve always known.

“I can’t,” I say. “I have a date with the devil.”

“Oh,” he says. But I see the familiar spark in his eyes. “Tell him I said hello.”

Tall Love by Michelle McEwen 

No more giving away what I got and gettin’ nothing back. I give my heart, my time, and what’s between my legs and all I get is a bunch of men’s backs on their way out the door. My old honey thought I was sleeping when he snuck out. I was awake, though— watched him tiptoeing out. Funny sight— grown men tiptoeing. I cried a spell about it, but no more of that nonsense crying for me. I’m at that age where my folks starting to drop like flies and I need my tears for them. Too old to be weepin’ over menfolk, too old for this one-sided love I keep gettin’. Aunt Tookie says I love too hard— says no man’s love ever gonna match how I love. That’s ‘cause I got this way of lovin’ that if I took my love, put it up against a wall, and marked off the height with a pencil, every day it’d be taller— a growing child. What I got is tall love. My men got short love; no matter what you do, it don’t grow. Unless I find a man with tall love, my legs staying closed. Gonna need a password to get ‘em open again. Won’t be no simple password like I love you. It’s gon’ be something tough like “Baby, I been all over Chicago. Had me some moneyed women, yellow women, plump women, but they got nothin’ on the one I got layin’ up next to me.”

Sofia, Sofia by Melissa McEwen 

Junior is always leaving Sofia for months at a time, but he never leaves for good. He still has a key and Sofia never changes the locks because she knows he’ll be back, she just doesn’t know when. So every night before she goes to bed, she leaves the porch light on for him and a plate of food on the table and he’ll show up out of the blue like he never left, returning in the middle of the night, through the back door, and his heavy gait and the creaking floorboards will wake her. She’ll lie there and listen as he heats up his food in the microwave. He’ll eat like he hasn’t had a meal in weeks. She’ll comb her hair with her fingers and wait for him to come to bed. She’ll fall back asleep by the time he comes, but when he comes, he’ll whisper Sofia, Sofia in her ear and mechanically she’ll turn over on her back and open her legs.

LOTUS by Linda Simoni-Wastila 

Drape me with silk
lustrous as the line of my thigh,
feed me oysters
champagne lapped, finger napped,
cream mountains whipped
to fill my hollows.
Make cartography with your mouth,
mountains with your fingers,
trace highways down my belly
with your tickle tongue
moan your prayers
hush in my ear you are done
with her.
But even these offerings will
not unfurl me.

Lotus by Roberta Lawson 

In our palms, small talismans. In our palms, small found objects: a photo, a gemstone, a discarded note. Hand to hand we pass back and forth these tokens as substitutes for love. Here we do not mention the cold – our words are only for our own ears and we ration them carefully.

Once a mute man placed a lotus flower in my hair, walked away. Once somebody’s mother took the earrings she was wearing, threaded them through my lobes. We share no common language of words. We make do. We better than make do.

Back to Wk #38 – Long distance

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