- The Small Clasp
Your breasts were two drunken parents coaching Little League practice but smaller, I remember, than the disappointment parents wrap around children and now they have been replaced by others. Some were like exposed negatives, two copies of a Maria Callas biography, a pair of Dutch clogs, [End Page 140] two pieces of chocolate cake that left me thirsty for two glasses of milk, pierced, tattooed, each different, even from each other; one always seeming a little brighter, a little larger or smaller at midday or midnight, while it rained or began to snow, sticking to the sidewalk. I remember my friend's wife the night I lifted her shirt over her shoulders in the tiny upstairs bathroom while he argued about Eliot and the Jews on the front porch with the woman I would eventually drive home. Honor will only carry you so far before it drops you on your ass. You can't run from it but you can get close, standing out in the cold, lighting your little cigar, talking a woman's ear off. I have learned to conquer loneliness the way television conquers loneliness. The woman in the car commercial, bending over the hood, her breasts telling me this is the car for you, handsome. You have to believe in it if you want to survive. You have to let the old lies into bed and make them sing for you. And it's the same thing when I dream about your breasts and a floating riding crop. I have to remember how wonderful it feels, pulling my hands out of my pockets, moving them slowly between someone's spine and yellow T-shirt, happy to unhook the small clasp without the fingerprints of love, without the familiar sound of our neighbors fighting and all the effortless moaning that went with you.