Each time the gun goes off, the girl
digs her nails into her friend’s pale arm.
On another channel, two women sit
on a striped couch. The stripes
could be anything. The girl’s head slips
so effortlessly onto her friend’s shoulder.
In an odd fight, the other girl’s father insists
she wear a bra with that shirt. He says it’s as obscene
as if he took his dick out of his pants
and wore that to dinner. The mother
gets involved, uncertain whose side she’s on.
The girl envisions her own bloated body
as the thing her father flings at her mother,
which knocks the wind out of her but
does no lasting damage. Her father unzips his pants
and takes out his penis to demonstrate
he has a penis. What seems most tragic
is that this is inside her bedroom.
Why did she have to inherit her mother’s
breasts? Why here, amongst the books and the bears?
Their first exuberant morning together,
the girl takes so many unnecessary
trips from the bed to the kitchen,
simply to be watched while naked.
Having a body can be so luxurious
when one wants it.
The mother, of course, has no issue with it;
she simply can’t imagine her daughter
marrying a woman. At least they are in a car,
a good excuse not to look at each other:
much better than a couch, the same
as a television. When the girl thinks of sunset,
she thinks of the sun setting on TV.
Why does this, of all things, seem unbearable?
As opposed to adolescent habits, now the girl’s
dietary restrictions have to do with issues of the
digestive tract. For this reason, and others,
they don’t go out to eat. As in adolescence,
she believes whatever it is, is probably fatal,
in that it probably comes from her head,
which will kill her as soon as her body allows it.
They often play cards
and the girl always wins.
The trick is to make everything
part of the game: drawing an ace,
opening the fridge, sex on the carpet
or couch, a conversation about sex
on the couch, falling asleep
and waking afraid of the lights,
accusing the other girl of snoring
to be told, “you were snoring,”
the mangled bodies, then
the Proactiv commercial,
one’s opponent gets up to answer a
phone call and doesn’t come back—
she’ll come back. This is no time
to let one’s guard down. Both
girls have learned to count cards
out of necessity.
The game closet is filled
with so much fun!
One could stay here forever
and never get bored.
The years go by and the girls go with them. Each week, the other girl asks why the girl still won’t end things with that boy,
Because compulsory heterosexuality, the girl says,
Because loneliness, the other girl says.
Why would she say something so obvious? Why won’t the car alarm go off outside or the TV start up again with the toothpaste jingle?
Against all odds, the men in our family
are kind. Your father and I
worry about you. We wish
you would tell us how we could help.
If you only told us what was wrong,
then maybe we could help.
Panic! Baby wakes up,
where is my doll?
There is nothing left to say.
So quickly lovers become strangers,
like being overwhelmed by the ocean
or the city at night, like peeling out
of a theater for a cigarette
and feeling inhuman in the air.
Only what silences is now silent.
The ocean roars and the city gleams
and the air pierces with freshness.
What is there to do about this?
Hold each other? Remind oneself
of one’s own luxuriousness?
Leave the couch for the kitchen
and put the water up for tea?