Poem 180 ± December 1, 2015

Monica Wendel

My boyfriend and I always have sex
on the first day of my period, and never use a condom.
Sometimes I forget that the blood
is my period, and, when he pulls out,
another tide pulls my chest under
and tells me that this is the first time,
something has changed or broken.
This is not really the case, and fits strangely
in memory when I sell my underwear
at a love motel, no touching, for $75.
Even stranger when all I do with that money
is go to the mall and buy more underwear.
My boyfriend likes it. He likes the new cotton
under his hands, or a strap that rises up
when I sit down, and he likes when I tell him
the story of the turnpike and the motel,
the man’s shaven head and when he dropped
hints about a wife…just traveling through,
the man said, as though I was worried
that I might see him again.

MonicaWendel_HeadshotMonica Wendel is the author of No Apocalypse, (Georgetown Review Press, 2013), selected by Bob Hicok as the winner of the Georgetown Review Press Poetry Prize. She is also the author of two chapbooks, Pioneer (Thrush Press, 2014) and Call it a Window (Midwest Writing Center, 2012). A graduate of NYU’s MFA in Creative Writing Program, she has taught creative writing at Goldwater Hospital, St. Mary’s Health Care Center for Kids, and NYU, and is now an assistant professor of composition and creative writing at St. Thomas Aquinas College. Her poems have appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Rattle, Drunken Boat, Forklift Ohio, Spoon River Poetry Review, and other journals. In spring 2013, she was the Writer in Residence at the Jack Kerouac House of Orlando, Florida.

This poem appeared in Drunken Boat.