watching home movies of my lover at 17
We pretend it’s cute—sitting leg
over leg on his couch, me purring
over young boys and football uniforms.
He won’t tell me his number. You have to guess,
he says. It’s the end of summer, first day
on a high school practice field. Home
of the Wildcats. Eye-locked on the screen,
I let my fingers run slow laps at the base
of his neck. A boy in the movie grins
at the camera, forehead shining with sweat.
That’s not him. The man beside me begins
to breathe louder. The boy looks down field
to someone off screen and throws
long. The man slides a hand up the warm
promise of my thigh. Camera pans
to the receiver. The girl I was that same year
(so recently graduated to tongue kissing)
was shy, could not have answered the question
in that hand. On the screen, a row of boys jokes
on the bench. My thigh tenses, then gives way.
Coach blows a whistle. The team runs
through the camera’s field of view, one helmet
after another. With my free hand, I rewind
a few frames. Play. Pause. Smile.
Screen goes dark.
I’d know those shoulders anywhere—
even with my eyes closed.
Review by Mark J. Mitchell
Anna Weaver’s work in this journal is all pretty impressive, but this particular poem floored me.
First, the accuracy of observation is perfect, the way she conveys the feeling and physical posture of sharing a couch with someone you have loved for some time just feels real.
The entire movement of the poem from “pretending” to “with my eyes closed” is wonderful, since we often pretend with our eyes closed.
There’s a musicality to the flow of time, as well, that is very impressive. The juxtaposition of figures on the screen with the two people on the couch to the memory of the narrator herself at a young age is almost fugue-like.
The focus of sexual tension—remembered, onscreen and on the couch –builds to an ending with a fistful of monosyllables.
Ultimately it is the combination of factors—as always—that makes this poem so tasty—the truthfulness, the structure and musical composition of both ideas and lines all work together.
Review by Andrea Jackson
I like how the action on the screen is paired with the action on the couch so that the reader sees them happening simultaneously, what’s on the screen adding depth to what’s happening on the couch.