sixteen years of Christian values and it's
Friday night, practicality and promise thrown along with
caution to the wind; cinnamon-scented skin shivers beneath my lips and I
wonder with almost clinical detachment what
this might all lead to; licorice lips coaxing out an-
other kiss, pretty promises prevailing over protests –

I want you, you lie.

tomorrow's looking lonely, sweaty sheets shoved
carelessly where you left them on the floor
my number crushed casually into your back pocket where
it will get washed with your weathered jeans and
forgotten.

I don't pretend you'll call me, an insincere smile smeared
across my lips when you kiss me good-bye; you say
I'll see you but we both know better. a once in a
lifetime experience because
that's all we'll give each other.

I shut the door behind you and then retreat into
the shower, while the last vestiges of you vanish with
the steam. out of sight and never once in mind
but then

suddenly I'm Sunday-
morning sick and a statistic, sinking in
my own candy-coated shame. I never got your number,
not either one, and your Houdini has been perfected
funny how I'm the only one paying the
price, wretched for repentance
(I'd get down on my knees and pray, but God helps those who help
themselves).

decades (weeks) later it's decision time
ticktock seconds drumming at my brain
I decide to call her Emily, Emma, Emmy—
at twenty-one, sixteen, and four
respectively – even though
she'll always be (is) a figment of
imagination

seventeen years of Christian values and
it's Friday night
(she'll never have the chance to make the same mistake)

- K