YOU HAVE SEX WITH A MAN TEN YEARS YOUR JUNIOR
not call him boy. Ever. Even if he
calls you girl repeatedly, often, in front
of your brother, in front of strangers,
do not respond with the word boy.
He may pretend it's okay, you calling him boy,
but later while you sleep, he will take
special notice of those lines forking up
your eyes, those lines he earlier
deemed sexy. He will remember the music
you mention that he's not heard of.
He will place his hand on yours
and notice your cuticles are a mess.
have sex with a man ten years
your junior, be prepared to begin
an exercise regime. He will not, of course,
insist on this, only cock his flawless face
to one side and begin with, Hey, you've got
a good bodyhe will pause a minute,
resting his glass of milk on your favorite table
without a coasterfor your age, he'll add.
Do not put down your spoon, instead
watch the ice cream melt and drop
in small white spots into the black bowl.
Smile. Say, You've got a belly yourself,
and you're just twenty. Smile again.
When he says, Men get to be fat,
stare at him hard, pat something soft
and say, Yes, fat men get to.
his coworkers mistake you
for his older sister, be grateful
they didn't mistake you for his mother.
When he laughs about this later, dips a chip
into the too weak salsa and guffaws,
take note. Let him laugh alone so that
he becomes conscious of his laughter,
so that he hears. It's time to admire
that horrible snort your friends
have mentioned. It's time to notice
the salsa on his chin, dry and cracking,
a small red comma.
your younger man insists
beer halls with his buddies six nights a week
isn't immature but social, nod your head.
When he says, That chick in my Psychology class
is just my friend, nod your head again.
Talk yourself out of him. Make a plan.
him to a grown-up bar downtown,
say L'Opera, where he'll surely be carded,
and leave him there at the front door,
babbling about his missing wallet,
his stolen bag, the rotten thieves
in Los Angeles. When he calls your name,
do not look back. Think of him
three feet tall and pasty, having lost
his mother in the supermarket
with the same frantic quality
in his voice. Enter the bar alone.
on a stool next to the graying guy.
When the graying guy looks at you,
look away. When he looks at you again,
say, My son is stuck outside without his ID.
Grin a little. When he tells you
that you don't look old enough to have a son,
any son, shrug your shoulders as if to say:
Time's been good to me. If he asks
if he can buy you a drink, order Stoli.
the unhappy boy outside
hadn't even heard of Stoli, had coughed
and fidgeted when the bill came,
remember that, remember all of it
when the graying guy asks for your number.