This Poem Is Not about Making Love

When we get all of our clothes off, I start thinking about
that girl I work with—she’s half-Asian, that’s good enough—or
that girl in my class who wore her skirt too short one day or
the one who got me off a couple of times last winter,
but didn’t want to date me: I could’ve married that girl.

But we take turns—using each others’ hands and mouths
to avoid pills and latex—and those
thoughts come to mind more when it’s my turn;
I like to go last, so I can roll over and sleep.

When I’m the one who’s doing the work—that is,
when I’ve got my finger on the button, and
I’m trying to find the right combination:

rough and gentle
fast and slow
up right down left;

it’s like I’m trying to remember a code we entered for extra endurance
in some video game as kids,
except this combo changes after each use.

It’s easier to figure out, because I can feel where it’s trying to hide,
anticipate where the it’ll go next.

I know better than to go on auto-pilot,
’cause I lose it quickly when I’m not completely involved.
It seems to sense that sort of thing.

I discover each time, as if it was the first,
that when the moment approaches—
like runners sprinting toward the finish-line,
our bodies growing more tense until completely taut—that if
I breathe and moan like I’m almost done,
even though I’m nowhere near,
it’s that much easier to finish the job.

I roll over when the roles reverse;
the favor is repaid.
Back to back, we drift
into peaceful, dreamless sleep.

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