Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2016  Vol. 15 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Sex Ed

I remember wondering whether hips were like cake,
licked clean of icing the way boys lick their lips at girls
on the street, teeth the color of late frost, rich with bone
and how hips are bone, hard but leading down to everything
soft. At fifteen, a doctor pushed in cold, said: how tight, how
stiff. How, even clinically, it felt like transgression. At school,
girls said they rose like kites, tails bow-tied and fluttering,
which is another way of saying the body is a pulley, a simple
machine lifting and lowering. But did it hurt? I asked. They
laughed, hips pouting under crop tops. I wanted to prepare
for it like a test—one these girls had all passed. No matter
how many times I sat in the tub, door locked, water cooling,
my fingers searched for something I couldn’t name. I’d turn
the faucet back on and close my eyes. I remember thinking:
move your hips like a boat docked and fettered. Think moon-
pulled tide. Think waves. Think nothing.  

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