underwear, or second chances by Nicole Lesnett
i forgot what boys tasted like.
i forgot what it felt like to have a mouth on mine,
to stand barefoot on the dark hardwood
pulling on underwear in sweet morning light
as you lean into hands behind your head,
slightly smirking as you study my tan lines.
i forgot that i could sit cross-legged, naked
on endless amounts of white linens
and that someone would cup my ears and pull me closer.
i forgot maybe i wouldn't be the only one
to admire the hard metal slid through my nipple,
the only one to wake under the big picture window
holding big blue sky.
i forgot just how good it felt to have a mouth on mine.
we do not call her grandma;
we call her elsa.
pinched lips and painted eyebrows,
she has few qualities
we consider motherly.
the last time we met,
she pinched her pinched lips some more
about the thing in my nose.
(we said little else,
elsa and i).
but this time,
she didn't seem to see it when she looked
through me, asked me plainly, pleasantly,
who i was.
knowing she was supposed to know,
yet almost resigned
that she would no longer remember
which son was which
or that the menu that looked just like
the one at the restaurant they always go to
was familiar because it was, in fact,
the menu at the restaurant they always go to.
this time, she stood half naked
shriveled legs in ruffled underwear
and slowly, oh
tried to peel the sticker from the panty liner
she had already forgotten
how to use.
the sickly softness that had softened
the synapses between
mouth and memory
had seeped throughout her body,
spread to her disdain, so much so
that my eyes almost got so soft
they leaked. almost.
for the first time,
many years late but not too late,
she let me help her.
*image by Tal Shochat