Author: Nathalie Kirsch

Nathalie Kirsch is a Boston-based poet. Her social media presence is limited to Facebook, Instagram, and OkCupid.

you’re an aberration

sitting on my back porch in our underwear at eleven o’clock
the night now goose fleshed like you just
blew breath behind my ear &
the air a bouquet of all those dying leaves,

i tell you, i don’t like to be drunk (anymore);
all the booze tastes like self-loathing & masochism &
trying to find someone to be mean to me
because it’s easier than being mean to myself.

you don’t say anything but
you run your hands up and down
my legs, like the runs
in my stockings you like so much,

partly, i think, to keep me warm
& partly because what can you say
to that kind of sober revelation?

by the charles, midsummer’s eve

you explore my muscles and bones,
              your hands pointing out
the extensors digitorum and longus,
while i point and flex
my toes. you tell me
how those names don’t make sense
& you’ve created your own language,
which no one else understands,
not me, not even the other masseuses.

you stand, show me
the muscles in my thighs
that hold me together are as long as
my forearm. you say you won’t find
them, buried under flesh & bone,
but you knead them anyway.

              i look around
at the other couples – but i’m not saying
we’re a couple – & threesomes & foursomes
all sitting on the grass under the trees
by the river & wonder
if they’re watching us;
it makes me self-conscious of
the blue cotton of your khakis
softer on my skin than the parched grass,

                            as everything
evolves (or does it devolve?)
when you kiss me before
i even have time to worry if i taste
like cigarettes.

a therapeutic chain of events

what are you doing? he asks
& i wish to be doing something
interesting, but really
i’m laying on my bed
trying to figure out the best angle
to see my hipbones protrude the most
while still keeping my thighs
looking slim & stomach flat
while willing it to stop rumbling
so i don’t have to make pasta
for dinner for the umpteenth time
this month & sometimes watching my chest
rise & fall with each breath
& thinking my mother always hates
when my bra straps show
even though i think it’s no secret
i’m wearing a bra but mostly
just staring at the ceiling,
which is white and smooth
in some parts but cracked in others
like the whole damn thing might crumble
on me at any moment,
listening to the birds chirp
& the mothers calling their children
in from the early evening stillness
& then an hour’s passed &
i never answered him.