Dicks make me nervous. I don’t like to look at them; this is a fact that never ceases to surprise and make people laugh when they hear it for the first time. And why not? How can I have had sex as many times as I have without catching enough glimpses to get over my little girl issue of shyness?
I avert my eyes, I let my gaze stray upward, I give gentle caresses on stomachs, thighs, meaningfully cradle faces in my hands. I have had three serious boyfriends, and those three are the only ones with whose private parts…
When people find out that I am a bartender, that I have been a bartender throughout this pandemic, they usually say something like “oof” or “I’m sorry” or “how have you been doing?” It’s okay, I’m used to it, and to be quite honest, I’m used to the instability of being a bartender in general, even before there was a pandemic to turn the world of the service industry upside down.
“My bar closed for good, so I’m currently unemployed.” — I usually say something like this, sometimes with the caveat that it will eventually reopen, but not for a…
Is there a word for when you are lying on concrete, someone’s head in your lap, staring into each other’s eyes, and a cockroach skitters across your open palm? When you’ve just gotten back from the beach, you’re covered in sand, the air is warm but dark, and you have to pee?
What about a word for when you see someone you didn’t expect to ever see again? When you’re on a tiny island, entirely ready to spend the day by yourself, and the universe has alternate plans? …
My father is thirteen and,
shoes laced at the starting line,
skinny arms open to the breeze,
muscles taut and posed,
he looks to bleachers,
his teeth white against the sun.
His father, my grandfather, and his mother,
have not materialized; are not
there. Like any other time,
my father’s first reaction is anger.
He slaps his wrists to his sides,
pinches fingernails into palms,
pulses until told to go.
I don’t know what he runs from,
I just know that he runs fast. …
The sun gleams off of the dashboard in a display that makes me wrinkle my nose. Yet my skin drinks in the heat, swallows greedily the glow that comes through the sunroof in the old four wheeled machine. I let my eyelashes dust my cheeks for a moment and when I reopen them, I glimpse at my hands, wondering whether they will be the ones to tell me what is different about today.
It is my birthday, and in the back seat of the car is a single red balloon. It floats in the rearview mirror; I see a splash…
In a cash only dive bar in New York City, I scratched the tables with my nails and sipped a PBR. The light was dark and comforting, the air inside was warm, and as I opened my mouth, words fell out as if I had no control over them. It was days after Christmas, I had forgotten what it felt like to be truly accosted by the weather outside. I took quick little sips of beer, and I missed you.
I remember what it felt like to sit in a car next to you and laugh, the corners of our…
Did the moon shining on the surface of the water
lose all its meaning
when you messaged me on Instagram the other day?
It both does and doesn’t feel that way.
I knew that I didn’t like
the way you minimized my experience
the life that I base my research on.
But I also knew that I liked being seen,
for more than my body:
as someone rational and thoughtful,
someone who wasn’t afraid to learn and to listen.
I didn’t need to prove anything to you.
But I liked holding your hand,
and I liked listening to you talk,
and I liked…
How do I describe the feeling I get when I think about my mom
Sitting in a doctor’s office in a paper gown
Revealing the race of my father to the concerned
Expression of a white doctor.
The harsh lights framing his face to give authority
As he tells her, gently,
To consider abortion rather than bringing a
Into the world.
She was the same age that I am right now.
How was she to know that bringing me here
Was the right decision? Is that the right
Question? My father was five years old
Before miscegenation — crossbreeding —
was decriminalized. They…
The first time (that I can remember)
A pajama set, my favorite one, with little kittens on it, in all different colors. the way that it splattered, all down the front of me, the way that I cried, the way that my mom took me into her bed, put me in a loose t shirt, threw away the kitten pajamas.
The last time (most recent)
You always think that you can get away with it by chugging enough water, by leaning back against something soft, by concentrating really hard and swallowing multiple times. like that time I stared at myself…
Recently I got a tattoo from my cousin, of a cherub next to a drink called the sidecar; it’s orange and comes in a martini glass with a silvery sugar rim. I came up with the idea in a night, and it turned out better than I could’ve imagined. To me, it means something along the lines of including my cousin’s art on my body, and implying the significance of being a bartender as it has affected my life as a whole. The more tattoos I get, the less important an easily digestible story of why seems. But I think…