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Amy Gerstler

"Virginity" [by Amy Gerstler]

Amy Gerstler
Virginity 

Lying down on the rug with someone and getting dust
bunnies in your hair. The eloquence of long pauses.
Passing notes rather than speaking. A basement fogged
with pot smoke. Trying to read another body via its breathing.
The idea that if you kiss someone you can taste what they
just ate. Refusing to eat what your mother cooks anymore,
which hurts her feelings. But you can't stand dead sautéed\
animal inside your mouth now, so you have to spit it out.
The myth that innocence is protective. The idea of not
being able to stop. Reading secret magazines a cousin stuffed
in the bottom of his sleeping bag. The idea that someone
curious about your body isn't interested in the private theatre
of your mind. Theories that there might be a kind of
violence about it. How mother insists that without true love
it's just worthless humping, and the idea that for the life
you aspire to, she's probably wrong. What your body has
promised for so long. The idea of your disastrous premiere.
The idea of someone laughing at you after. The idea of
hoofprints, stampede damage, stuff crushed underfoot.
The idea of keeping all this hidden as you slowly lotus open.

From Index of Women by Amy Gerstler (Penguin)

See also this interview with Amy Gerstler
https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/roll-call-a-conversation-with-amy-gerstler/

and this poem by Amy Gerstler selected and discussed by Angela Ball
https://blog.bestamericanpoetry.com/the_best_american_poetry/2021/11/the-new-york-school-diaspora-part-nineteen-amy-gerstler-by-angela-ball.html


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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark


from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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