Grip my lips between your teeth—
that's how it started
on your brown couch,
and it wasn't long,
'till you pressed your nose
into the roll above my jeans,
my knees bent and tight
as a coiled snake's muscled sinews.
You sat stiff as the frozen
black trees in the marsh
between our houses, waiting
for my breath to tousle your hair.
My teeth grazed your ears
like the scrape of skates
across smooth ice.
Then the 3 A.M. freight roared
behind your house. One dish
cracked on the cold,
linoleum floor. The walls shook,
the brittle ceiling rained down grain,
and we held each other
through the storm of stucco
and the whistle's scream.
By then my mother was sleeping
beneath her reading lamp's glow,
her pillow damp with dreams.
In the cold car I touched my lips
where you bit and released them,
remembering the delicious loss of knots
in my muscles when my body gave
itself over. Driving home a DJ played
my favorite David Bowie
about the girl who drives her big car
south along the Hudson.
As I crossed the tracks, I was full
as rivers when they flood in spring.
Laura Gross has worked professionally
as a copywriter and editor, and she is enrolled in the M.F.A.
Creative Writing program at Southern Illinois University. Her
previously published work has appeared in Seems, Clark Street
Review, The Harper Anthology, and Point of View.