My first dick was all pen and ink. My mother sitting at our kitchen table explaining sex, or more so, my sex, or more so, the way that my sex worked.
My mother trying to answer a question. My mind thinking long
and hard about the two men across the street who were old
and together and loved to sit on their porch and didn’t seem to be going anywhere, didn’t seem to be parting anytime soon, didn’t seem to be leaving each other, didn’t seem to need anyone else, any women.
I understood it.
Didn’t feel I needed it explained, but felt this might be the time
to ask about sex. Something about them said sex. Said ask,
now is as good a time as any.
So Mama at our kitchen table in August and my chin resting
on top of the soft damp wood and her hand sketching
a dick in pen on the back of tomorrow’s grocery list.
I recount this experience to you the other night. You ask me about my first time and this is how I choose to answer instead of telling you about the time I was undressed on that same kitchen table eight or so years later I guess but I tell you this instead and laugh as I remember understanding
the facts how it worked —the whole thing—
within just a few minutes of my mother beginning,
but pretending not to understand. Drilling question after question into my mother one after the other waiting
for her voice to crack a little more in every
truth. Sadistic little daughter. I just wanted something more than an explanation like my mother’s mouth
to wrap around the words
penis, vagina, erection, sperm, orgasm, orgasm, orgasm
orgasm. I’d heard them before and they had made me
feel alive and I wanted her to feel alive too I wanted her to give the words over to me without apology to begin to shake less to hold the pen steady to take nothing back
I wanted to set Mommy free.
I laugh telling you this.
silly memory :: naive daughter :: wishful girl
we see nothing in our wake
I leave the bedroom once a night. Every time you sit up and ask whether I am okay or where I am going before I only nod my head, shut the door, and leave.
The first time I realized I was not a woman was also the first time
I wanted to just lay on the ground out of view and become dirty and become dirtier.
I ask my mother about sex and her medication because I need opinions and the doses of each seem inextricable from one another
today I try to believe but nothing I imagine us wide open and fearless but
nothing there is
no documenting womanhood without cutting the body in half
to count each widening ring between cunt and tongue or
how many times we had to grow up
the blood’s dried up the doctors say no
blood no sex no love or feeling no
make a fuss just pull on your pants and feel how easy
they come up your hips now that you’ve lost the shining curve
we can all become such beautiful enhancements of death if we need to unmoving save the smile the hands
and each morning a hurt the end of my body both fists pressed into the soft living room floor and
this is your home this has always been your home there is no leaving just the hurt
which is different than the blood which is missing which is the missing which is different than the leaving
just the hurt which is
Mama still flinching at the kitchen table her staggered throat still holding on to this was never going to be pretty
how could I do anything but laugh
we are silent breakable things
until our chins slide off the wooden edge
and what then
asking for my first
dick and feeling powerful
as I return to you the paper-
thin one sitting in my mother’s
instead of me
instead of my
instead of me