by Annette Covrigaru
A cool gym closet, our refuge, cardboard
boxes, plastic floor hockey sticks and basketballs
like discarded adolescence, we balance on roller
skates too wide and slim, trace and retrace an
oval track that doesn’t exist, cut corners, hold
our breaths. We are bound in our bodies –
oversized tees, sweat burnt eyes, iridescent skin.
I think then say Liberating, my friend asks What?
and I don’t repeat it.
I lick the hair on my upper lip and swallow
summers’ liquids into my Coca-Cola and mucus
coated throat. Don’t go anywhere she texts as I
follow a firefly down Avenue B because I never
knew light could float this low. I follow until I
don’t because the edge of Tompkins Square Park
swells with dribbling and laughter and fuck offs,
rhythms of antonymic motions and emotions and
for a moment I’m in the belly of boyhood, lulled
Thigh hairs sprout from follicles crackling like
bang snaps on New Years and mom says Shave
this new you but there’s no new to this me,
only flashbulb memories and resurrected flesh.
They say skin is the largest organ and isn’t it
comforting to know we’re always exposed?
I apply testosterone to my shoulders, a tacky
gel thick with an alcoholic odor that dizzies
and gags me until I grin. It sinks through fat
and blood and tissue, barriers to pastlives, to a
boy gasping for existence, ready for air.
This poem previously appeared in Yes, Poetry.