I’m driving in Culver with the windows down.
wind nibbling my face and leaving spit marks
“She Knows” by J. Cole plays on my radio,
too many thoughts about work to focus on the road.
Later I’m sending texts to him while I’m waiting for her,
caramel-colored lights and tables in Studio, 8 P.M.
dates repeat, we swap playlists, receipts –
Is my sexuality means to an end or is it an excuse
to have a back-up plan in case I retreat?
Condom wrappers and drained milk tea cups.
Validation, show tickets, Audis and pick-up trucks.
2 A.M., I’m fading from your car to the mattress
was singing your song but halfway changed the lyrics.
We schedule each other on a tightrope and dance
Laughing and dancing but listening too closely to enjoy –
Is the music we’re hearing at an outro or a bridge?
That chill on my neck when those cards reshuffle
I’m back on cold streets, by myself at night.
Cross and uncross your arms, rewind and recline.
You bite your lip to say no more, but two weeks you’re back online.
So we beat back against traffic, thrown into the semi-youth interlude.
I keep telling myself you can’t sell out if you’ve never really loved,
so until then just keep playing till you do.
This poem is included in The Sophomore Year Experience poetry compilation.