Coverage

by JoAnna Novak

 

A few seconds under the past’s broil,
I left roofs to boys. Girl I was

always afraid, untouched, finger
banged, hugged too clumsy-rough. Move

your sex, said sister. Taste and see,
congregation sang to Father John, achy

breaky hymns, hairy hunky haunched, anyone

limbed I wanted wet yesterday of
ordinary time. He could wear green Umbros,

gluey hands, smell like Great White Shark
fruit snacks. He could mouth his lips, slap

bracelet my heart. I was gather and cathedral
calories, bagged wafers, wash chalice, suede

choker, wooden T, pinch the blood-gulp, dozing Christ. He waited

to spring awake. He writhed and worked
my sins, an extra lap

around the mall. Outside lithe bustles I never
became. Polished. Women, please

have me. O use your bruisey boots, purple, punkish, green,
oil and mud and hair dye draining, and, ooh

wash away my glitter and Jello-juice, Dad’s
gaskets, a hurricane lassies do not make.

One pipe, one gear, plastic crack adventure, wishes and scabs.

Fantasy of gal-palling
with anyone, dark-haired, ghoul-eyed,

summer camp, bunkbed singalongs, horrorshocks, gleeped chocolate
gulped grog, scritched mosquitos, kisses, bloodpooling. Badness

shook her finger, pointy, pointy knife. I spread
these thighs for myself, girl

I trained myself to loathe, like, gag-me pickled beets or eeny meeny teeny weenie short short man

I blushed off callers, brushed
back hair. Smooth crowns

belonged to the others, that
bubble-lettered group.

What will it take to belong, to quit
wanting a slab of swaggy layer cake?

Do I swipe frosting and offer it up?

Mary, my pinky.

Veronica, my toes.

JoAnna Novak is a writer of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. She lives in Massachusetts.