Just lips, just a car,
and the hard asphalt, the quiet suburbia,
the gentrification of the wild, wild world
distilled into the parking lot behind a Starbucks.
Just the latte and a tea:
a taste of sugar on tongues that had never met before.
Just a hand on my waist, just the feel of the skin of his back under his T-shirt,
just his lips on my mouth:
the feeling I was losing eternity.
Just a boy, talking about my olive skin and green eyes,
like every man from now until the end of time,
leaning on a black sports car:
offering me ruin.
Just the feeling, in the suburbs, over coffee, over pavement,
that I didn’t know him at all,
and that I would cease to exist if I left him now.
Just the same old banal love story,
older than Europe and concrete and cuneiform,
that makes every country song a prophecy.
Just the feeling that I know nothing after all,
that the restaurant workers coming out the back door are watching us,
that he is missing Breaking Bad,
that home and country and destiny, the fountain of youth and the arc of the covenant,
have all been sacrificed
for skin on skin, a promise of nothing,
a promise of literally everything:
Gina Tomaine is a Philadelphia-based writer and editor, as well as a lecturer in composition and literature at Saint Joseph’s University. She earned her MFA from Emerson College in Boston. She has work forthcoming in Painted Bride Quarterly and Entropy, and she has been published in The Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Bustle, Complex, Electric City Magazine, and Philadelphia Magazine, among others. You can find her on Twitter (@gtomaine) and on the web (https://ginatomaine.com).