a poem by Cristina Umpfenbach-Smyth
the way he holds his cup,
his laugh, needs, wants.
He gives me flowers,
red carnations. I like yellow roses.
At night he reaches for me,
his arm around my waist,
draws me close.
He falls into a deep contented sleep.
Oppressive heat, uptown summer night
sticks to my skin.
A pockmarked moon melts into a water tower.
Across the narrow alley a television strobes blue.
Sirens repeat themselves.
Stink rides on heavy air.
Music drifts, seeps into me, makes me rock,
I want a cigarette, a drink, a fuck.
I feel the sound. Stomach rises into my throat.
The scar across my face burns hot.
Familiar pain rises.
I crawl back,
close the window, draw the drapes.
The fan labors against stagnant air.
I slide into bed,
into safety, still unfamiliar.