WHY I DIDN'T SAY NO, BY SARA PIRKLE
Even as his kisses swept
the back of my neck,
even as he pinned me in place
with his leg wrenched over
my thigh, even as he squeezed
my breasts like ripe fruit
and expelled a shuddering sigh,
I said nothing. Still as a pillow,
I gazed at the digital clock’s
glowing face with a glazed-over
thought: nothing lasts forever,
this too shall pass. Maybe
some part of me understood it, or
the idea of it, a man so crazed
by my angles and curves
he couldn’t help himself.
Maybe I deserved it, crawling
into his cologne-soaked sheets
after a dusty evening of tequila.
Maybe in that drunk-dark hour,
I saw myself in his loneliness.
Then, he rolled away
like a boulder blocking a tomb.
It was over. I didn’t hate him.
In the cobalt blue swell of morning,
listening to his shallow breath,
I knew why I didn’t say no.
I’d made similar mistakes,
wanting what I shouldn’t have.
Desire once capsized the principles
lugging me through life. So later,
when he apologized, his voice shaking
like a willow in a storm,
I accepted his words the way
a river accepts rain, evaporated
elements returning to their making.
Sara Pirkle is the author of The Disappearing Act, which won the 2016 Adrienne Bond Award for Poetry. Her poems have been published in Rattle, Reed, Entropy, TAB, The Raintown Review, Emrys, and Atticus Review, among others. Sara has received writing fellowships from The Anderson Center, I-Park Foundation, and The Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences. She is the Assistant Director of Creative Writing at The University of Alabama, where she also hosts the Pure Products Reading & Lecture Series.