Jennifer M. Pierson
It's really about sex what I do, this act of insertion,
opening of the mouth like the one between my legs,
the raw part of me rubbing the sinful part of a man.
Insertion, mouth wide open every day, but there is no lover.
It's about this moment when my mother's eyes begin to pucker
and my body squirms under covers as her flashlight blares
at my face, midnight or two in the morning.
She shakes me with accusations
and it's always sex that she is screaming.
When she screams it in my ear,
the shadow of her hand looms against the wall
and my throat begins its tightening reply.
Nothing safe or clean can penetrate me now.
She always goes away, but I learn the lesson well.
Now, after school, I am alone in the grey of our kitchen
and this time before my mother returns is forever.
Books bundled under my arm tumble onto the table
and the paper bag stands up tall.
I close the blinds
till a coolness relieves the air of our cramped apartment.
The radio plays a Beatles' song, then the Monkees come on.
I like voices to visit from a distance and boiling water in a pot.
The Chef on the box sings his jingle to me.
His white cap and the red and green and white of the label
are a personal invitation.
There are three kinds of "Complete Spaghetti Dinners"
to choose from.
Today I bought the one with meat sauce, no mushrooms.
I am not hungry. I am not hungry but I want so much to cry.
I carry a second pot from the cupboard to heat the sauce,
then throw spaghetti in the bigger one.
There's a packet of Parmesan cheese to toss over the top
and it all fits inside a giant bowl.
Serves three to four.
Takes ten minutes to swallow.
I time myself.