I always leave after sex.
It’s not a habit, it’s a desperate need,
and it’s not leaving
so much as fleeing,
slamming doors faster than I can open them,
outrunning nightmares that haven’t
been born yet—
My morning after
follows the twenty-minute torture
that some people call cuddling
and his groggy request,
Stay the night. I decline
on my way to Let me brush my teeth,
and have hopped the subway
before he has time to wonder
where I put my toothbrush.
Sex is its own
where to waterboard is to swallow,
and a finger trap
is a wet hole where my hand shouldn’t be.
A kiss feels like grating gravel
against my molars, and a hug
squeezes the air
from the balloon inside my ribcage;
he doesn’t notice me pop.
Some people understand that
No means no
but can’t grasp that
No means never.
No, I will never want your hands, I—
No, I will never want your tongue, I—
No, I will never want to touch you, I—
can’t feel my own fingertips,
I can’t say that.
It’s easier to lie limply for fourteen minutes
than it is to define the word asexual
and spend two hours reassuring him,
It’s not you, it’s me,
which turns into,
Maybe we’ll try again tomorrow.
Ad nauseum, ad nauseum,
until I’m the one getting nauseous
inside his toilet bowl.
So I endure.
I press on as the fingers press in,
and press hard as he tells me to lean in.
He wants kisses.
He wants me to stay the night
and ice my jaw against his skin.
I kiss his sticky fingers.
Let me just brush my teeth.
And before he has time to wonder
where I put my toothbrush,
I’ve hopped the fence
and am gone.