Terms and Conditions

 

Until now, now that I’ve reached my twenty first year:

All my attempts to impress the male sex have been criminal:

From initiating proposals to accepting their terms,

I’ve seceded from my expectations.

 

A cooperative agreement is what they call it:

my current, compliant state.

I’ve known this agreement between the genders goes

Back to one bite of an apple. Some things never change.

 

Is this who I am? To permit a first kiss

between sips of Keystone?

To submit to a “hey” at three in the morning?

According to this agreement, this is.

 

I’ve failed to go through the fine print, the very words

that, looking long and hard you read:

“Send nudes.” Somehow, there must be more than this.

 

There is more. 

 

This agreement has opened more doors for me, not limited

To the following: my rented bedroom, the back

Of my station wagon, and a boyfriend’s fraternity.

 

Is this really me? I’ve entered into a contract where

I’m applauded for grasping how light bulbs work and

Where I’m afraid to walk home in a grey sweatshirt.

 

I’m just staying in this weekend. 

 

“Want to hang?” he asks.

Okay. 

“Just let me know.”

Okay. 

Read: 12:21 AM.

 

–Elizabeth Lacey

(inspired by Solmaz Sharif)

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Heard From Here

I pull the dirtied string, the window nude,

Stripping left blind higher, faster than right.

Space well-hidden between homes exposes

A tree stuck thin between the house cracks.

 

Laughter unleashed into streets, hyenas

Howling at the moon from the pavement.

A year ago my laugh was with these above,

Our sound in unison with pitch and tone.

 

It is a song best sung together. But now

Depression sings the taste of sour grapes.

Here, dried fruit falls from vines onto the floor,

Ants circling around the concord spheres.

 

I can still hear those laughs from here. Yet

If I push myself, it’s only back to sleep.

 

–Elizabeth Lacey