Buffed Oxfords. Studs. Ruffs. Velvet frock coats. Hair
slicked back, a patent-leather wedge. Blacked ends
of bitten cigarettes. But suave? You tend
to bitch; crave glossy Black and Tans; smirk; stare
at supple coeds; shrug, palm Reds, or swear
about the snow. Tsui Chiang, we’d both pretend
your British accent rivaled Spike’s. We’d spend
dank Grotto nights contesting Fotch games; share
your Sam’s Club case of Lemon Coke; beg rides
to Friendly Friendly’s, East Buffet or Deke.
We’d make out in the Cheeseball Lounge, beside
the Whipped Cream Hallway—semi-formal Greeks,
our hands rough shoals; slow kisses like low tide.
Life tastes like tonic bitters now. Clinique
heart crushed, I’ve searched Hong Kong and Singapore
base camps for your sarcastic, scoffing, sure
élan. Do you still clip your vowels? Sing? Smoke
in showers? Pair galoshes, Gucci suits,
T-shirts? Our romance was a cosmic joke,
but something sparked—invisible, acute.
We’ll always have spilled body shots, flames stoked
with hundred proof, I Never, passion fruit.
Hilary S. Jacqmin earned her BA in English from Wesleyan University and her MA from the Writing Seminars of The Johns Hopkins University. Her poetry has appeared in The Urbanite, The Sewanee Theological Review, and Iron Horse Literary Review. She is an editorial assistant at Harvard University Press, where she also serves as in-house managing editor of The Journal of Legal Analysis. (4/2009)