Would he love me if he had the chance
and would he do it well?
It happens that usually
any affection that manifests
is exchanged between us at a time of night
reserved for just these things.
He parks his car among
many other empty cars
in a place where the yellow light
from the streetlamp doesn’t reach
and we try not to be noticed.
This has been a series of
dark and sweaty encounters
under these very circumstances.
We have never made love in a bed
because our lungs are content to share
the smoke from his cigarettes,
and this is intimate enough.
Our bodies belong here, smashed together
in alleys and automobiles
so that we are kept mindful of
the disastrous tilt of our coupling.
When faced with each other
we remain shallow beings
because we each have someone
with whom we can be deep.
But in the sensation of his fingertips
on the hem of my skirt
I want to imagine the potential for
thousands of these touches
because although I cannot identify
precisely the reason
they excite something ravenous within me.
There is more to me than my skin
and I am not my body
and I know better
but can’t I pretend for a while?
He clenches my waist
squeezing to the point of pain.
I make a noise of pleasure in the back of my throat
knowing that it will be a bruise by morning.
Elizabeth May Young is a full-time student at Sarah Lawrence College with a passion for literature and poetry. She devotes much of her time to navigating New York City and working as a teacher’s assistant for America Reads.