is a beverage, a restorative, a blessing to humanity."
— from The Coca-Cola News, 1896
- Your mother's
giving you THE TALK,
several years too late. You've just come home
from school, wandered into a lesson
you didn't expect. She's been home all day
and put away enough to give her courage.
She's rolling a condom onto a half-full bottle of Coke,
shaking it to make it come.
She says Oh, what a mess,
I guess it wasn't on right,
and you wonder if your conception
was as half-assed as this.
She says Your father's the expert here,
wipes her hands on her pants.
Somehow it doesn't help. The house
heaves silence, the glittery dust turning
lazy somersaults in the early evening sun.
But this isn't about the facts of life,
at least, not those facts.
You can't get the old Coca-Cola song
out of your mind — I'd like to teach
the world to sing / in perfect harmony —
but all you can remember of the rest
is the happy crowd on the hill,
the camera panning away.
You want to ask her if it's normal to like
being held down and slapped, or how many men
you can admit to before starting to fake the count.
She snaps the rubber like a toy and arcs it
towards the bin. What now? she asks,
as if this was your idea to begin with.
You shrug. Jesus, she says —
now we have a smoke.