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by Despy Boutris

Long after midnight, we’re talking about our first time
together, what each of us thought when we spent that afternoon

in bed, pinkies barely brushing, wanting to try to be brave.
I say, I appreciated your enthusiasm. You say, You were very adventurous.

How scared we were back then: to pass a mirror, to say
how we felt. You’d only half-unbuttoned your shirt, warned me

about the scars on your abdomen. I’d shaved myself from head
to heel the night before, nicked both knees,

and wore Star Wars bandaids I’d found on clearance
at Kroger. You’d sucked the salt from my neck. I’d never said

I love you out loud and meant it. Back then neither of us knew
how we could be wanted. Your skin tasted of sweat,

and my hair was a golden curtain around our faces. I still remember
how the damp sheets stuck to us, how that night was the first time

you held my hand in public, said you never wanted to let go.

Despy Boutris’s writing has been published or is forthcoming in Copper Nickel, Ploughshares, AGNI, Crazyhorse, American Poetry Review, The Gettysburg Review, Colorado Reviewand elsewhere. Currently, she teaches at the University of Houston and serves as Editor-in-Chief of The West Review.