[oasis]

[arts]


The way it could have happened

By Bill Roundy

We slipped into the playground
with bottles clinking in our coats, it was 3 a.m.
We know we shouldn't be here,
the place has been condemned,
but we danced on the sidewalks and jumped off the swings
and we're playing a game of pretend.

There's three of us,
we parry and thrust
like Musketeers, and now we're drinking
in the starshine, and it doesn't seem to matter
that I don't know if we're a threesome, or a couple...
with a complicating factor.

It started on the bed (it always does)
queen-sized for royalty, big enough for all,
and Anna lounges like that, I grabbed a drink, and sprawl
like liquid overlap, my one arm trapped
beneath her. Stephen settles, hesitant,
clambers with us, above the blankets.
We began to drink in earnest, slowly slumping
towards the center of the bed.
Anna curls an arm, it lands on Stephen's thigh,
and I look up and realize that I can see
his eyes. They're turquoise.
He looks to her, "I don't...like boys,"
he says, and licks me.

We play at tag-team touching,
me, and her, and him.
And my mother would be worried,
but I know where we've been.

So now we're on the playground,
pretending no one will get hurt.
and I watch them curl together,
and I don't even know if I'm alone.
Their shared cigarette drifts away, smoke as wispy
as this connection, in the burning morning air.
She looks around, blonde hair and borrowed
jacket, calls me from my seat on the jungled bars,
says "It just doesn't feel complete
without you." So we all huddle on the loose stones,
sharing the warmth of whiskey and trench-coats,
a set of shoulder-blades beneath each arm.
This is the place where logic breaks, where the human
urge to couple can dissolve. And I'm praying,
if there are angels of indecision,
just maintain this, don't resolve.


©1998 Oasis Magazine. All Rights Reserved.