I wish someone had explained
how wide to open for that French
kiss, how to keep my front teeth
out of his way, angle my nose,
breathe and let the tip of his tongue
probe like a feeler.
I tried dodging to make room,
rolled mine into a morsel, nursed
it inside one cheek then the other,
feeling a growing need to spit.
If he entered too far, I stifled
the gag, when he slid under, I drew back.
It thickened when he relaxed,
slugged in my crammed mouth, sloshing
through excess saliva.
He’d pull away then quickly resume,
kiss me again, then again,
as though he had yet to get what he’d come for.
With each brief lull I came up for air, swallowed
the buildup in my mouth like I would at the dentist,
the taste of hard liquor, laced with the scent
of a stale ashtray.
I told myself with time I’ll get this,
the way I’d learned to swallow whole chunks
of French steak, rare and tough.
No, I wish someone had explained this was
an invitation of sorts. I’d been invited
to la dance des langues:
I wish he’d curtsied,
as it’s done at a French ball, to commence
a menuet á deux mouvements.
I wish he’d lingered, my lips the rounded
a little to enter and greet
Marguerite the pearl of daisies, damp at dawn,
not a dent de lion, or a common sedge
the buck-teethed teenager,
her breasts only just budding.
O how I would’ve looked upon him then,
with my dark eyes.
I would’ve danced, taken the heat, the burn
of the new day. My mouth young,
O so eager to please.
Rooja Mohassessy was born in Iran. She has lived in Europe, Asia and the United States. She is currently a candidate at the MFA program of Pacific University, Oregon. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Narrative Magazine, Poet Lore, California Fire and Water: An Anthology of Poems, Southern Humanities Review, Bare Life Review, Woven Tale Press (nominated for a Pushcart Prize), and elsewhere.