The Hickey Poem
I wore your hickey on my earlobe like a badge.
Purple heart, my pride. It felt like bee stings every time I touched it.
I touched it a lot.
It just kept buzzing in my ears, like your whisper that night.
My heart a churning hive, all burning and heat and only for you.
All sweet like honey.
I wore your hickey like my worth.
My proof of purchase as I sat down at the diner booth
with my girlfriends the next morning.
This happens more than you’d think.
Clothed in last night’s crop tops and a false film of “isn’t this funny?”
we set our one-night stumbles one by one onto the table.
Next to the jelly packets, next to our pride.
We measure them out like sugar
weigh them, check for evidence.
Your hickey was still there.
We’re always half-laughing, half-banging ourselves over the head.
And sometimes half-Hope
when we think no one’s looking.
Am I virginal enough?
Did I let you kiss me too rough?
Where do I lie in your mind now?
Are you still tangled in my blankets?
When you leftwhydidyouhurry do I worry too much?
Did I swallow enough shots that night for me to laugh this one off?
Toss it to the floor if it doesn’t pan out,
liquor weighing heavy as a wet boot to my gut when you tell me
you don’t remember anything from last weekend.
Where is my security?
Did I leave it in my blankets?
Cause I’m still tangled in those blankets
Among your wicked, spidered limbs.
They wrapped around me in the morning time,
Your kiss woke me up.
Bee stings, honey.
Your hickey faded with time.
But some nights I can still hear it
Melina Gotera sings in the indie folk duo Amelia and Melina, where she co-writes all original material. Her poems have been published in The Best Teen Writing of 2009 and the magazine ETC. Melina teaches art to children at the Hearst Center for the Arts. She lives in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
This poem is not previously published.