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Aids Memorial Quilt
Keeping watch, twenty years later

Night Stanzas

Invited Up

by Marina Kris

At the three-day conference,
she was assigned to my group.

Winter boots, woolen coats
slipped off by the lobby fireplace

to reveal cashmere sweaters, ribbed tights,
miniskirts with or without

panties underneath. Sometimes
she sat beside me, others at my feet

on a hassock, knees curled under,
demure. She murmured. I only heard

every third word, so I leaned in. Shiny gloss
rather than lipstick. We marked pages,

traded manuscripts
back and forth. Cups of coffee

with silken rich milk.
We noted: our poems of pain more numerous than our joy.

She had a husband since college; I did not.
He was Croatian, his mother disparaging of her efforts.

I considered her a goddess, Venus of Willendorf,
although I never spoke it.

The last evening
before departing,

she chose a V-neck blouse,
gave a glimpse without bra. For me? For her?

She became passionate about a passage,
her breast flesh shimmered as champagne goblets,

full, sparkling. Nippled stems.
Dustings of tawny eye shadow,

her dark eyes attentive to my bottom lip's bruise red smudge
as if she wanted to sample it. Standing in the lobby

before climbing two flights of stairs,
ivory marble on every baluster and balustrade,

"My spare," she said, her fingers warm
around the cool plastic keycard

she wrapped into my palm, twined our fingers over together.
I watched her ascend the stairs, counted to ten,



In seventh grade
it wasn't a sleepover or a locker room
but in the piss-warm pool
that she dipped her tiny palm
under my underwire cups, wiggled her fingers.
A new kind of breast stroke.

At fifteen, his mouth found
the tender spot between my right earlobe
and my collarbone. Unexpected yellow starfire
without the need of hand stimulation.

Off-campus apartment. The gray-striped kitten
died before morning. Pancakes and grape jelly
left on a plate, my palm on her cheeks, rubbing
the wetness gone. Tucking strands of damp hair
behind her ears. She leaned in. Bottom lip
biting bottom lip, perfect healing.

"Trust me.
The table is better." I'd only ever knelt into beds,
backseats, once a pull-away couch.
The rhythm of the strap-on made my teeth rattle
as the cups across the wooden surface. Almost, almost--
she counted the thrusts.

It wasn't a lollipop or a Twinkie or a corndog
but my lips on the mouthpiece
of a three-fourths empty champagne bottle
we snuck from the adult table. Fireworks,
my hand unzipping then dipping into his tuxedo crotch.
The years going out and in with a bang.

©2014 by Marina Kris


Reader Comments

Marina Kris' erotic fiction and poetry have appeared in more than two dozen magazines, including Clean Sheets, The Erotic Woman, Cliterature, L'Allure des Mots magazine and the Hot Summer Nights anthology. In 2014, her short story, "The Exhibition," was published in Little Raven Two and A Storytelling of Ravens: The Best of Little Raven Publishing 2011-2014 in Australia. She was also featured in the erotic podcast, Lickety Split, Episode 16. Her poetry was published most recently in In My Bed's Tongue issue (August 2014, Toronto). She frequently is inspired by fellow artists and dreamers and blogs at Marina Kris Writes.


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