Pressed Hip to My Hip

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Pressed hip to my hip on the bench seat of my granddad’s GMC pickup. It handles better in the snow. Anyway my Pinto’s busted. When I told Don about the broken shock on the Pinto, he pinned me, hand to my throat, against the kitchen cabinets, and Mom screamed his name, and I went to live with my grandparents in their creaking floor house. Though we’re farther apart now, you’ll stay with me forever.

A dirty blanket of last week’s snow slumps out over the streets. We keep the engine running, turn the heat to full. The windows are frosted with our hundred shuddered gasps, our prayers to one another. Stay with me forever you whisper. My hand squeezed beneath your bulky sweater and the underwire of your bra. Your aching ungloved fingers fumbling to unfasten the three working buttons on my five-button jeans.

Praise the Lord! is how your mother answers the phone. A pious and desperate exhortation to whomever might be calling. An incantation against the creeping danger that is every teenaged boy. Tonight, as every night, she sleeps alone. Tonight, as every winter night, she sleeps in the embrace of her electric blanket. She prays for you to find your way. She hears your key struggle at the front door, hears your feet, your feet only, descending the steps. She exhales. She writhes into a fitful and frightened sleep.

A flurry of windblown snow flutters through your basement window as I climb in. Reflected in your clock radio’s cobalt glow, flakes dance a crystalline fantasia above your bed. I touch my lips to every shivering inch of your skin. I press myself inside you, missionary because I’m sixteen and this is all that I know, more than I could dream. You’ll be with me forever I whisper. Upstairs your mother cries out. Far down your lamplit street, out of sight, my granddad’s pickup sits, piling up with snow.

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