Once

April 29, 2012

i am taking the final bites
of chicken and licking my fingers when
he walks in. it is his next to last
night on the continent. a chance is
taken and a promise is made
for drinks at the end of my shift.

when midnight arrives, i take a bashful
seat and we sip bottomless glasses
of languedoc and roussillon, washing down
any last traces of shyness that linger.
we slip between french and english and
he teaches me how to express pleasure
in having eaten something beyond delicious:
Je m’en leche les bebines.

later,
we gulp demi upon demi of blonde beer,
sliding further into intoxication-laced conversation,
throwing around the word masturbation and debating
the relative satisfaction of female toys versus
male toys.
There’s really nothing good for boys, he contends.
I’m happy with mine, i declare.
I want to watch you with your toy, he confesses.

we then slip onto the street and smoke
sneaky cigarettes, stealing the stubs
from each other’s lips, sealing our
determination in the wisps of smoke
cradling our humming bodies.

later still, we move along, down
the silent streets lined with chilly 3am air.
walking side by side. stride matching stride.
i shiver and he wraps his jacket around my shoulders.
Would you like to have sex with me tonight, I ask.
he smiles, I don’t know.
It’s just a thought, i offer.
Yes, he looks away and then back at me again.

at our final destination, a chambre de bonne,
he lifts me through the skylight, exploding
our drunken revelry onto the rooftops of Paris.
balancing on a narrow ledge that connects
the apartment to the aluminum sloped roof beyond,
he grabs my hand tightly – i marvel, magical how
the superglue-like connection of two palms
with the sole purpose of preservation can transform
a moment from ordinary to sublime.

with wine glass clutched in my right hand,
picpoul sloshing over the edges,
i follow him to the next level, hand
over hand, clenching tightly the steel rebar
bent handles fashioned as a ladder, up the pure
vertical ascent, leading only the brave, the foolish,
or the drunk at heart to the tip tops of the city, to the miniscule
ledges offering multilayered panoramas of chimneys
and roof lines and the far reaching brilliant glow
of lights well beyond their edges.

adrenaline rushing,
we descend one level below and sit facing
the fabled tower of montparnasse, mostly obscured
by the urban forest; hoarding the glowing butter brilliance
of the waxing crescent moon, magnified by 1000s
in her early morning plunge to the horizon.
falling into an hypnotic trance,
our bodies wane into one another,
breath following breath, like attracting like –
magnetizing legs, then ribs, then shoulders, then arms,
then necks, then foreheads, and finally, a pause.

a breath.

Attends.

and then,
lips, hips, thighs, pelvis, and finally knees pressing into
the slippery slope of the tin tapped roof, fighting
gravity’s pull and moving deeper into pleasure.
a stolen moment, robbed from the lustful dreams
of the sleeping bodies populating the buildings
surrounding our spontaneous dance of inhibition.

and the next morning-
knees with aluminum kissed bruises.

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