Sometimes what you remember is their voices again,
coming on inside you like strung lights in your blood,
certain words they’d tongue differently
from anyone else, or your own name
and its surprisingly infinite nuances.
And sometimes you remember their hands,
not touching you but draped over a steering wheel
or cupped briefly around a cigarette,
anywhere you could watch them
in their life apart from you, knowing how
they’d find you later, blind but sure,
and come to rest where you needed them.
You remember the hardness of their bellies,
the soft line of hair that swirls down
toward the cock, the look of each one
that entered you and then withdrew, or lay
quietly inside awhile longer before slipping
away like a girl sneaking out in the middle
of the night, high heels dangling from one hand
as her stockinged feet drew sparks from the rug.
Sometimes you wander the house all day,
the fog outside stalled at the tops
of trees, refusing to rise higher and reveal
the world you hope is still there, the one
in which you’re still a woman
some beautiful man might helplessly
move toward. And you remember how one
looked at you the first time you undressed,
how another didn’t mind that you cried.
Sometimes it’s enough just to say
their names like a rosary, ordinary names
linked by nothing but the fact
that they belong to men who loved you. And finally
you depend on that, you pray it’s enough
to last, if it has to, the rest of your life.
“Getting Older” by Kim Addonizio, Tell Me, BOA Editions Ltd.