We were dancing in a dim lit bar somewhere in Allston. It’s 1994.
His hair was greasy as if he had been playing mechanic all day with cars.
Somewhere outside the window an arc of sunlight scatters along the snow piled up against the window melting.
Tinged with icicles that will break.
Again, i am twirling on the beer soaked floor where jello shots parade.
Its one for the money, two for the show. The jukebox sings to no one in the room.
somewhere the same song plays
Almost a mess of blood on thin flannel sheets. Patriots poster watching. Lace bra on linoleum floor.
Stacks of papers in corners. Volume of poetry. His record player spins nothing but static. Sweat collects near my temples.
My hands affixed in a cross above my head.
no no no
is this real?
More than he needs.
My lipstick smears against his white t-shirt. The force of hands. Stop.
It will be romantic, not under the weight of him. It will not be another PSA on TV, with a broken antenna, a dog watching.
It will fade out almost entirely, a blip of grey, set against black. The last shot in kaleidoscope filtered lens was a girl running back to her dorm room.
In the corner now, or in a trash bag cradled by a couch, a few glossy fashion magazines, a pack of half smoked cigarettes, one broken. There is always one broken
Pipes filled to the brim with the West Coast’s finest, he says this. Pulls off the sheets
I like to watch you smoke. It gets me off. He says and exhales the smoke in my mouth
in his bed. The radiator sings to the traffic outside the noise grows louder filtering.
All summer long I’ve dreamed
of waters rushing together rising in foaming peaks
tug tug on my underwear.
His dog Malcom, watching. He gets away with things in this city called Boston.
He thinks he’s famous, even better, i think he is famous.
Another toke this time it’s not a pipe but a joint.
Rolled special for me for you. He whispers, not listening to the door bell ring.
Keeps talking. Weed is pure, for cancer patients dying, prescribed by doctors. But neither one of us is dying, at least not today. From the corner of the room the walls melt together, his voice echoes in my ear .
The door bell rings
He wraps a towel around his waist. Wanders down the hallway.
Chatter. People chatter.
I play with a lighter. Think of setting the house on fire. burn baby burn.
Hold it close to my skin. The heat promises nothing.
It’s my friend, he tells me. Grin. They will kill you. I start laughing . His face under the fluorescent track lights. Flicker Flicker.
He whispers again, My friends will kill you if you tell of the young boy in the grip of a priest who touched him.
He cannot say , molestation.
He raises his fist. Slams it against the wall. Fat dog talks in dog language. Woof Woof.
Somewhere between this city is this stranger’s bed in the rhythm of the music that still plays I have been dying. He is still watching, spinning and spinning under flashes of dark.
Jean Kim’s work has been published in First Inkling, LUMINA, and The Philadelphia Weekly. She was the recipient of the 2011 Walker Award, a scholarship prize, to study at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and she won the 2011 Nonfiction Award in LUMINA.