Buttonholes

Back then I had no words
for the hands that emerged
from the pressed darkness of a crowded
movie theatre— all of us behind
the balcony rail, standing room only,
slapstick on the screen as the hero
clutched his boxer shorts and hopped
from the heat of the hornet’s nest
bulging on his behind. How did my
blouse buttons become undone?
Instinctively my elbows became
shards, became flailing
as the roars and laughter
rose in waves in the theatre.
I can write this now with no
guttering sound from my throat,
no constriction in my airways,
though sometimes the simplest
gesture I make still undresses me.

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