Nestled in a tractor tire, in that dark ovate cave, Cecile and I waited. Above us, boys bounced and chanted about what took place below with the girl
who drew invisible zeros as placeholders in math class, whose red hair hung nerveless in a braid. This girl I first kissed. Her lips, small circles
against my own. What I learned to do in that dusk: to mimic the shine in front of other boys, to pin the approximation of desire against my chest. I clutched that and other
girls as if a harder grasp was truer, as if after I pushed them to the wall and fixed them with certain kisses there would no longer be
a divisible zero in my chest, that hollow where desire was supposed to whorl.
His hesitation was years of kindness allowing desire to settle in
my body. Nothing more than this. Gentle as pulse he raised pleasure from
the fear of my skin until I hovered above the small horizon of his bed
and reached into that unknown for the first time with him. Momentarily
struck and fallen back into the gravity of bone but after, fledged.
Jory Mickelson was born and raised in Montana. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Carolina Quarterly, Superstition Review, Sundog Lit, Weave Magazine, The Collagist, The Los Angeles Review, The Adirondack Review, Boxcar Poetry Review, and other journals. He received an Academy of American Poet’s Prize in 2011 and was a 2013 Lambda Literary Fellow in Poetry. He is the 2014 Guest Poetry Editor for Codex Journal.