The Scarf

Christmas, 2005 / No. 15

This scarf (still wrapped around my neck)

came wrapped with a box of condoms

(expiration date: 1992)

a box of twelve chances you expected me to take

on my eighteenth birthday.

You returned in the fall, knowing how to roll joints

and whether to spit or swallow.

For my part, I had only just let the hand of my new boyfriend

move that scarf aside, his flat palm curving to my breast.

And at that birthday party you threw for me,

you and Molly and Andrea and Melissa

(I didn’t even like her)

danced around and smoked (I think), and drank (I think),

and you let slick slivers of cooked pasta dangle out the corner

of your mouth, hovering over their gaping lipsticked-pink lips

and let another snake in amongst nubile cleavage.

I was an alien dropped into a sleepover peep show,

and I wanted to run from there to my house,

only a block away where we had set up

Barbie houses and, a birthday before, snuck in a bottle of wine.

In the dark of my boyfriend’s bedroom, he holds my face as he kisses me,

his breath as soft and tickly against my bare skin as

that feather boa we shared for an old Halloween costume.

With your parade of newly discovered lust, I can’t recognize you,

and hide the blueberry-coloured stain that’s swelling

as fresh as new lips between my breasts.