When I Said I’d Slept With Your Friend

before we met, you asked between grit

teeth the last time that I saw him, or if
we still talked, the room growing

midnight with each question. Then you said, It’s okay,
I understand, a practiced voice not unlike the first

sip of a first beer, sour gulped in a show
of manhood. Then your hand

shifted to grab my waist, pulling the mass of me closer
to your mouth, lips skimming my clavicle

in a forgiveness I wasn’t seeking. Then you
forgave me again, lifting my shirt

and accepting my breasts as apology, bent me
forward in a carnal prayer and I prayed with you,

as you reclaimed my body back
and forth in an unkind rhythm. I let myself fold

in your skin born 11 years before mine, our brown
shadows stalking the wall

behind the bed. Your tongue wrestled its way
to mine, loosening my jaw in what seemed like love.

Maybe this was the only way you knew how
to have me, trying to steal me from the memory

of another, as if you could erase
my intention or their sweat, replace it

with yours. But they still line my upper
lip, when I kissed them and let my mouth wander

to places I was taught to never stray. I imagine you
taste them too, their salt and heat.