Wise Poets – Tiana Clark – First Date During Social Distance

Tiana Clark

Everything wanted to be touched:
My bottom lip, the freshly busted
cherry blossoms, creamy drippings
like soft fluttering pearls that edged
the lack (I meant to write lake
but kept the mistake) as I rimmed
the risky desires. And you, you
were all new, suffused with musk
and sadness, height and a milk-
chocolate sweater that curled
at the collar rim, filling out
your shoulders like a ripe demigod.
I forgot about the virus
ravishing the world in its wake.
I forgot about my ache
as the sky dimmed from spring
and wet-paint blue to sherbet
shades of pink fruit juice.
I missed it when the bright
sloppy sun dipped down behind
us and the park slipped right
into that new-new dark as the city
lights lit up like the spangled tips
of hot cigarettes, cooing.
I forgot about the six feet collapsing
between us like prismatic bubbles
breaking between us, between us
the difficult gift (and guilt) of loneliness.
What did it mean to be touched?
It felt like I had never been.
Oops! I hadn’t been kissed like that.
That deep and deliberate.
When is the last time someone
wanted to suck and slurp
you up through a straw
from some glad underworld
or some strange netherworld
or any other world
where thousands weren’t dying
alone with flooded lungs?
I didn’t care who saw us.
I didn’t care that I might get sick.
I didn’t care—I was such
a reckless, selfish bitch. I know.
You almost walked into the lake,
but I was already drenched,
happy and squealing like a feral pig
inside. Do you like touching me?
I kept asking. You know I do.
Do you like kissing me?
I kept asking. You know I do.
You know I do—stop asking.
Everything wanted to be touched
and I wanted to scratch it all: Him.
My face. My face most of all.
He tenderly bit and tugged
at my bottom lip, and I became
a buoy, bobbing above the hazards.
I slid my index finger in the crack
at the corner of his smile
like a little hook as we licked
and puzzled the need and heat.
Remember the cherry blossoms?
(They’re gone now.) So quick
in their delicate beauty
and brief bloom. I remember
I brought a thermometer
in my purse and stuck it
in his mouth like a wet wish—