8 | sharon zetter

virginia summer


At the Natural Bridge, I leaned to kiss you before I saw it. The green horizon before storm; your dilated cyclone centers. I pulled back my blue, unsure where to find shelter in the open, unyielding sun.

I guess I should have known better. Because that first time when you came in your bed, upstairs, at your father’s house, you told me we were going to Hell. And I wasn’t sure if I should pull my fist out or keep going because none of my Seventeen magazines had ever broached this topic before.

And I didn’t really know if I believed Hell was a place to begin with, but I remember in Hebrew School, Gwen told me not to worry: Jews don’t go to Hell, just to Limbo with all the aborted babies. That night I dreamt of umbilical cords attached to tiny bodies, the beginnings of fists and fingers full of matzo.

But it had been eight years since that early morning orgasm and you’d been to college and grad school and I figured you’d gotten over that Jesus stuff by now. And we’d found each other after all those desert years, so hadn’t we earned that kiss?

We walked along the cattails as strangers, violets marking distance between our steps. It’s not like I wanted to have sex. I just wanted to show you that I loved you like that: how they were doing it—fingers entwined.

That night, falling asleep on our own islands, I stretched out in my Queen-sized solitude, wondering who you thought could see us in our hotel room?


sharon zetter writes words between co-editing the journals Retired Unicorn and MARY, book binding and battling with paint and yarn. She is currently working on building a dacha, possibly made of straw, with five other humans. Documentation of their exploits can be found at dachaproject.com. Her poems have found home in Hanging Loose, Slipstream, Sorry for Snake, Soft Skull and Blood Pudding Press.