The Nights We Spend with Others

Summer, 2007 / No. 18

Are fewer and farther between loneliness

and sacrament. My best friend gave her bottom half

to a skinny bar-back last week, he crawled between

her legs, two days drunk. Had to finish herself off, said,

All the same, he was the best I’ve had in a while.

We’re modestly sober, so our slim lists fatten

when we’ve had a few—we recount duct tape

and the ties that bound anything that moved. Open fists,

strawberry sundaes, the strange ones, feeding

like fawns ’til you knee them into place,

and those who talk about their fathers until dawn.

Time alone makes a woman

do things, think things that would scare you stiff.

I led a married banker to my kitchen counter

and left my mark with tooth and nail.

A young man in Jerusalem, because he had a scar like

a ribbon around his neck, or because he looked sideways,

all eyelash, my way. And at the time I thought, I could love him.

Spend a night alone with me, wet my bottle, light us

a smoke, promise not to look me in the eye—

There’s no one I’d rather be with tonight.