I. San Francisco.
We watched fog like a horizontal pillar of smoke rub into the city, strike downtown like a
gentle match, an easy fire. On the hill my hair blew into my mouth, blades of light made
long triangular track marks through the sky.
I dreamt I was twenty minutes late to the wrong bar. The wrong men are kissing me.
Cupping my broken cell phone together with shaking hands I’m vigilant you’re missing,
you’re missing from my dream. The phone now a face, like a desperate, sad child eyes
roll back and lips part, tongue recedes, I squeeze the soft cheeks to make a phone call.
I’m at the wrong bar.
III. San Francisco.
On the hill you put my face into your mouth, you put my name in your mouth, you put
my facts about reason and lust in your mouth. The fog is heavy now there’s no difference
between smoke and air, city lights become yellow and dim, meek fireflies from my
hometown fighting to glimmer and shake.
Over the bridge, I imagine, people are doing the same. Over the bridge, I imagine, tall
buildings rustle to keep the fog at bay. Fog that pushes like a determined lover, pushing
over overpass and under Bay Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge, fog that pushes through open
window panes and sliding glass doors. Fog that whispers and nudges, dark like a
shadowed mistress, keen seductress suddenly she’s upon us, fully, in our open mouths
and misting our wet, open eyes.
In the bar I’m barely audible. I’m replacing your emptying drink with collected bits of
my own, collected in a tall straw like when we were kids, my brother and I, with coca
cola in an easy, family restaurant. I’m replacing your emptying drink with my own,
feeling my limbs much less now, feeling like it wouldn’t matter what happened to my
eyes, feeling my cheek bones pressing the sooty bar air and space between our bodies.
Into my mouth, we’ve kissed as strangers on a park bench, into my mouth you’ve put
favors and facts. I am not intimidated or impressed. I am grateful and glad.
You call. You’re doing a study on sex. I can participate. Will I be there in the morning,
for brunch, to show you what I like? Will I be there now, in twenty minutes, to carry you
home from the bar? Will I be there in November, when you visit, to run my mouth like a
special tool, a live video recording of the fantasy you conjure, late for work, through
traffic on Storrow Drive, wishing you could pull over or just had a girl in the passenger
seat, a girl like me who obeys.
V. San Francisco.
By morning, I don’t know how it happens, there’s sun on the fire escape outside. There’s
sun between the petals of ivy that lie, almost still, on the wall outside my living room
windows. You are gone. I have had a cup of tea. I have had nightmares. I have slept