Abella's most recent book of poems is called
Watching the Wind (Writers Ink Press 2008.
Honey, you should have seen me
in my prom dress. Twenty-five years ago
I didn’t look like this.
—from a conversation at the Dollar
We leave ourselves behind somewhere
in the flush of the face during that first dance,
that first cigarette posed between lips
signaling a certain readiness,
and that Gin & Tonic spiraling us
into a looseness of flesh and mouth.
Years later these icons of firsts purge us
back to youth, becoming images in mirrors
of tight skin and thick hair. We see
what we thought we were: pure scented
innocence awakening to a hot pulse
of wanting. And we hold on to the cravings
of that last never ending night, eclipsing our worries
of what we actually see.
Sitting on the front step, she bends over her knee,
her neck a slow curve of curiosity.
At the slight rising of an edge, she slips in her fingernail
gently, lifting slightly, thin wedge under skin tugging
like a wood carver unfurling wood, the chisel
urging the delicate layer of curl.
Little by little she raises the round crust,
a single spot of blood
bloomed into a perfect dry circle
and slips it onto her tongue.
Crunchy flake between her teeth, sticky salt
dissolves piece by piece quietly
back into her body, back beneath her skin.