Sharon Olds

First Boyfriend

(for D.R.)

We would park on any quiet street, 
gliding over to the curb as if by accident, 
the houses dark, the families sealed into them, 
we’d park away from the street-light, just the 
faint waves of its amber grit 
reached your car, you’d switch off the motor and 
turn and reach for me, and I would 
slide into your arms as if I had been born for it, 
the ochre corduroy of your sports jacket 
pressing the inside of my wrists, 
making its patter of rivulets, 
water rippling out like sound waves from a source. 
Your front seat had an overpowering 
male smell, as if the chrome had been 
rubbed with jism, a sharp stale 
delirious odor like the sour plated 
taste of the patina on an old watch, the 
fragrance of your sex polished till it shone in the night, the 
jewel of Channing Street, of Benvenue Avenue, of 
Panoramic, of Dwight Way, I 
returned to you as if to the breast of my father, 
grain of the beard on your umber cheeks, 
delicate line of tartar on the edge of your teeth, 
the odor of use, the stained brass 
air in the car as if I had come 
back to a pawnshop to claim what was mine— 
and as your tongue went down my throat, 
right down the central nerve of my body, the 
gilt balls of the street-light gleamed like a 
pawnbroker’s over your second-hand Chevy and 
all the toasters popped up and 
all the saxophones began to play 
hot riffs of scat for the return of their rightful owners.

spoken = Linsay Rousseau