On Having Sex with a Woman for the First Time
Tucking in my sheets
would be a betrayal akin to that of Gertrude,
inviting her husband’s murderer
under her covers and into her arms,
a silent erasure
of all that left the blankets
tangled in unholy knots
by the wall.
She didn’t know the cruelty
that lay beside her, loud snores
and dream-twitches his confession
to a woman who could grant no absolution
in a bed soiled by sin.
You and I were also sinners,
taking the name of God
in vain, in vain, in vain. For us
the only penance was the parting
of lips and the empty bed,
sheets crumpled in a corner,
your Hail Mary on my tongue.
In the winter, I have nightmares. In the winter,
I have dreams. Hurricanes and screaming managers
and unfaithful lovers and I am pregnant with a child
I cannot care for and—I am the unfaithful lover, I am
splintered bone. It would be disingenuous to call her eyes
the dawn, her touch a balm, her lips the brushing silk
of my favorite dress. She is nothing but flesh and bone. She is
the ocean, and you cannot stop her. I bring her home
for Christmas; I am mouse and hawk alike. They will eat her
alive. My father calls her a nice girl. Five miles away: the tide
hums and moans against the dunes, and the nice girl
hears the ocean. She is the ocean. My father hears the waves,
but he does not recognize her. I stand at the shore
wrapped in January’s southern wind, crabs at my toes—
whose bite will break the skin? The swell of salt water
stings. I am healed but aged, wrinkled, nothing new.
Megan Reynolds is a queer woman from Florida who writes women-centered prose and poetry. Her short stories have appeared in the anthologies Perchance to Dream and Wings of Renewal. When not writing, she loves anything that keeps her near water or mountains.