The Boiler

Katie Longofono

THE VIRUS GOES TO THE MILITARY BALL

   blacked out from champagne and dancing
I remember his hand on the back of my neck
all night     he asked me to take a taxi
home with him    but my friend was puking
in the bathroom     I followed him
out of the tent into the open air
around a corner    there was a hedge   we were drunk
and making out, poked by shrubbery
he tossed me over    scrambled after
   we were alone behind a wall of sticks    he lifted my dress
put his mouth on my panties    then under
are you hearing this?      he put a virus in me
with his mouth    planted a seed


THE VIRUS DISCOVERS BODY HAIR

Tyler licks my armpit and says next time
don’t wear deodorant      I can smell
the chemical burn on his tongue, he is hard
and rinsing his mouth with water
before twining a finger in my locks
I am shocked he wants my body
he puts less than an inch between us
opens to the abyss says a prayer on a leather
necklace something like shed your bliss
we shed all over each other we virus
we unzip. Have you ever locked DNA
– what a foolish plan     to shoot      to miss.


THE VIRUS LIES BY OMISSION

I.
Monday afternoon Will picks up
a six pack      it’s been four years
since college when we slept not touching  
I drank a mug of tea in his bed read Whitman
over his shoulder     we felt very large
and expansive the way a bearded
man often does    Monday afternoon
drinking beer in wet reminiscent gulps   we talk
about everything except
my mouth    he is looking
pretty hard I know what happens
if I lean the right way    I lean
right away     and I’m on my back—

II.
Will wants me    because he doesn’t know—
he takes off my panties unknowingly    pushes
against my rooted flower pelvic bone
pleased and warm in the garden    before
the apple    I let him finish   not knowing
why   I hold him in    I lied
I know why    I know    if he knew
he’d breathe that sigh   you know   the one
with the look I’m sorry and
goodbye   I know why     I let him—mouthfuls
of mealy fruit   he has eaten
from the tree    I wanted him
to know    my thighs.

____________________

Katie Longofono received her MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, where she directed the 2014 SLC Poetry Festival. She is the co-founder of Dead Rabbits Reading Series, a monthly literary salon that takes place in NYC. She also co-produced AmpLit Fest, in partnership with Lamprophonic and Summer on the Hudson. Her first chapbook, The Angel of Sex, was published by Dancing Girl Press in 2013. Her chapbook Angeltits was published by Sundress Publications in 2016. Her work has appeared in Tinderbox Poetry Journal, glitterMOB, BOAAT, South Dakota Review, Juked, Midwestern Gothic, and more. She may or may not be on Twitter. She lives in Brooklyn.