they talked about babies and birth
control. no mention of the other things, nothing
but the facts, ma'am. so they couldn't tell you
that sex has a smell, or how good it feels to
hold a man between your thighs. because this is
not respectable conversation.

but you ate pixie stix off my tongue, tasted me
orange and cherry good. i didn't stop
your hands beneath my bra. i guess i knew
the truth: sometimes bad feels better.
and then when i pinned you, pulled at your belt and
boxers; you asked what i was doing before
my mouth stopped your questions. i drank you down.

when i start work at planned parenthood, all my friends
want condoms. they're not free balloons, i say.
the gay men there call me quiet and offer to swap
clothes. we sit around bagging birth control and watching
oprah; when george w. gives speeches
we swear and throw popcorn, call for civil unions
and drink diet coke.

then there's thatgirl at school, baggy sweatshirts
replacing cleavage, pajama pants instead of hiphuggers.
the attitude exchanged for something more
vulnerable. i want to push her spine straight, to tell her
she needs to be brave, to not worry when they say
-- is she pregnant?, and frown too much.
-- damn, how did that happen?

and an hour later we're screwing
on the living room floor: you hold my hips
and i scream like a cat in heat. please, i say.
pleaseyesplease. i've got lust
from here to sunday morning, and straight
on through the night.

two days overdue: plenty of migraines, but still
no blood. i find myself thinking
of baby names. and that movie we watched in health
that called life a miracle and showed a woman
pushing out a baby, her legs in the air. (i think
one girl threw up.) but i've won
the roulette game again, found another
empty chamber instead of the bullet. this monthly
crucifixion leaves my thighs caked red and thick, leaves
someone else to be a mother.

and i think back to all those silly lessons
(class, can you say penis?) where they pretended
it was science. i remember, and i wonder who decided
we couldn't handle the truth?