By Cassandra Caverhill
This wasn’t supposed to happen.
You came inside me, accidentally,
as we fucked on the springy single bed
in your co-op dormitory. Your eyes flickered
disbelief at first, then lidded heavy with
acceptance. We spoke calmly, carefully,
three weeks of togetherness tender between us;
I was still very much married at the time—
though only in the legal sense of the word—
yet somehow, I felt strangely serene,
certain of a love so seismic with you.
Nimbly dressing, our priorities shifted
from post-coital curling to procuring Plan B.
And when we reached my rusted Stratus, found
that the passenger side was beside a hedge—
the space between too narrow for you
to wedge into—so I suggested pulling out,
and laughter loosened the taut red cord
that ran between us, the same cord
that appeared to me in a vision
when we played music together.
This wasn’t supposed to happen:
Meeting on Craigslist of all places,
answering your ad for someone to play covers
of The xx with when I was a shitty drummer;
emailing you every night to pierce the absence
between our meetings because I lived to make
you laugh; sending you my lyrics so naked
in their intention I’d blush in your presence.
As we drove through the arterial streets
the critical turned casual; we talked of a life
together with art ballooning brightly
at its center—equal parts you, equal parts me.
You held my hand as we drugstore hopped,
when we faced another barren shelf,
as we spoke in hushed tones to white coats
and rolled our eyes behind their backs
for their knowing, strained politeness.
This wasn’t supposed to happen. But I saw
the path ahead unravel like a scarlet spool,
and my belly birthed butterflies when I swallowed
the pill that solved just one of our problems.
Cassandra Caverhill is a Canadian-American poet and editor. She is the author of the chapbook Mayflies (Finishing Line Press) and a winner of the 2021 AWP Intro Journals Award. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Atticus Review, Coastal Shelf, Reed Magazine, Into the Void, and The Windsor Review. She lives in Ann Arbor, MI. More at www.cassandracaverhill.com.