You elbow me with your corduroy jacket
when a box chock-full of antique marbles comes up.
I can’t hear your whispers above the auctioneer’s racket.
The clipped speech of the auctioneer cracked
me up when you impersonated him in bed. Like a wild, thick mop
I soak up every copper smell from your corduroy jacket.
In two days, I will drive you to the airport, packed
with other couples pressed tightly at the top
of the escalator. Lines sear my cheek from your corduroy jacket
when we hug—then a quick kiss good-bye tacked
on at the end. I’ll finger the rim on the paper coffee cup
you leave in my car. When I hear your name I can’t forget
how your long torso pressed against my bare back,
bluish in this early light. Your fingers shot into me, popped
my spine into a wicked arch. There is no lack
of how it haunts me still—what I bid—lost, sacked
and wrapped for other girls. I should have looked up
to see who else was bidding, but I studied the folds in your jacket.
My limit is spent, loud and certain as the auctioneer’s racket.
Aimee Nezhukumatathil, "After the Auction, I Bid You Good-Bye" from At the Drive-In Volcano. Copyright © 2007 by Aimee Nezhukumatathil. Reprinted by permission of Tupelo Press.
Source: At the Drive-in Volcano
(Tupelo Press, 2007)