When I used to ask for reasons the one I was given was
my brother, or an uncle, even a father who spoke his pedigree
in lovewords that spilled like cheap beer off lips the shade of 15 years
of smoking Newports; with the body of deep brown lager.
I was obliged to love men better that way.
I asked for reasons and the one I was given
was named blasphemy. A girl’s reasons are the same as her body:
not her own. Whatever she has to give must be presented as
invocation and in song but if she hollers, she will not be let go.
Once, a boy asked me to promise my body to him and
told me to wait until he came back. He returned all chest,
sugar, and tall on his word and nothing
was ever the same between us.
I wanted to stop asking for reasons. Since my friends enjoyed
tossing my question around their hips like imaginary hula hoops
they were compelled to keep going, I asked, “Do you have to
say you love him, even when you don’t, just to keep him?”
They guaranteed I would always have to ask—if I had to ask—
and I swore I would never bother. I had my reasons.
I also had a body that crept in like new wealth
and produced motives I shut down with books and blank statements,
I’ve devoted myself to new hesitations I long carried as my own;
I’ve held my back straight under the weight we bear when we
hear reasons in lovewords spat like curses, poured out as
carelessly as cheap beer, and when he hollered, I let him go.