Look another way
and Mrs. Dreyfuss’s dress is rising.
She stops me in front of the Cheerios.
How’s school? How’s sister? How’s Mom?
I’m almost ready to confess
everything: My mother is terrible.
She makes beds and breakfast and sits
all day watching TV, drinking diet soda:
the soda turns paler,
finally she falls asleep.
She hates shopping,
her dead husband, her crooked son.
But I smile, say Mom’s fine, running
for mayor, while the beer cans
I’ve stuffed under my green army jacket
rub up against my nipples,
which are growing breasts of their own,
large and beautiful as Mrs. Dreyfuss’s.
I hope Mr. Dreyfuss did not see I was looking at them,
my eyes moving down the buttons of her blouse.
The trouble with me is I don’t know
if I can love a woman. More than anything
I fear Mrs. Dreyfuss’s lips
opening up to touch mine.
How will I ever kiss a woman without ever really knowing
if it is a kiss? I dream I circle lazily
around the head of Mrs. Dreyfuss,
touching her hair. Although the aisles are beautiful
with candy and fruit and I love staring at them
for theirs is a beauty of the world
not human, I am not thinking about them. I am
thinking about love. Even the reflection
of my face on the shiny glass
of the tall refrigerator of beer is beginning
to tell me about it: Do not confess everything:
It is necessary to deny
to go on.
Jason Shinder is the author of the forthcoming poetry collection Every Room We Ever Slept In and editor of the anthologies Divided Light: Father & Son Poems and First Light: Mother & Son Poems. (1992)