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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

The Last Door on the Left

By: Samantha Tkac

We agree that it was just a kiss. That the kiss was innocent, which means it wasn’t. I’m supposed to scoff over scones and tea and say to my friends, Can you believe? But relief bloats in my gut like a bag of blood when I think of last night and what we did behind the last door on the left—the only thrill I’ve had in months, in years, in my whole Goddamned life!

I embrace the cliché I am becoming. Songs crackle through my car radio and I’m swimming in fantasies of you. Let me be specific. Whether you’re pushing me up against a wall in My Girl or shoving my face upside unformed clay during Unchained Melody, I am a fit in the driver’s seat with shivers that slide and linger in the middle, spurring girlish hiccups and the occasional fist-full of Pepto-pink spit up. I can take things from inside of me and wield them on the outside like weapons. I am amazed at what my body can do.

I am indulgent in the shower, building foam towers atop my breasts until they look like the snowy crests of Colorado. I am planning ski trips in my head, watching you make stew and eyes at me through a funnel of steam while strong-arming a knife through wet potatoes. You make it look easy, baby. I call you baby in my head as I traverse razor blades into my hairy basins beneath scalding waves of water. I’m planning on going back to the pub tonight. If I can’t find you then I’ll pace the four corners of that dingy room and dance through the memory like a desperate understudy. 

I touch my lips, the place where you landed that innocent kiss that nobody witnessed and that we made sure of. From the impact blooms a lavender mound, pulsing and getting bigger by the minute. Perhaps if I push hard enough, I might sprout a stem as sturdy and as deadly as hemlock. But I’m no fairy-princess. I cannot grow flowers from my face, no matter how many seeds you knead or how hard I wish!

I make brunch, castrating stalks of celery and spearing olives through silver tongs. I pour Bloody Marys into goblets. Bits of garlic spin and swirl. Women flood my apartment, their faces a living art show: shades of beige. They pucker in awe when I turn and flash my purple orb. They wrestle me onto their laps and snap my head against their breasts, drawing the orb closer for inspection. Their fingers flutter across my shiner, my fortune told. They blow vodka breath to dry the oozing rivulets. They are relieved that the manifestation of their mothers’ warnings can fit in the palms of their hands like a rubber ball. 

I sit and take it, knowing otherwise. I’m thinking of you. I hope that you’re tracing the treasure map that I pounded into your face, every pulse a surge of love and of memory—my thunderclap kiss, and my fuck, and my fist. What a curious and unconquerable thing, my body.


Samantha Tkac is a writer who hails from the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area. She like fine lines and British comedy series. You can find more of her work featured in publications such as The Squawk Back, Drunk Monkeys and Writers Resist.


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