Photo by Joseph Pearson on Unsplash

Milk Crate Malady

We stumble to your home, arms linked
tripping over ourselves as we talk
I’m guided through the front door and
down the passage to your room
A lone mattress on the hardwood floor
A vinyl collection spilling out of green milk crates

Quick thumbs roll a cigarette
we take long drags and
with smoke in our lungs and wine on our tongues we lie
Quick thumbs, quicker now, hook onto panty-lines  

Not tonight, I mumble
You tell me you didn’t peg me for a prude

That was the night we first met
I was all of 18
and you were 24
those 6 years, in my eyes, imbuing you with a wisdom I couldn’t possibly match
you were charming and possessed knowledge of the world I was yet to grasp
you were the perfect catch 

Take off your shirt, you command
my arms form an X across my breasts – a reflex
marking the spot
women shouldn’t feel ashamed of their bodies, you say
unbuttoning a shirt to reveal your own pink nipples
cursing the patriarchy for my sexual propriety

Fresh out of high school and thirsting for experience I let your earmarked copy of Being and Time serve as a character witness

But I came to know better
who cares if you’ve read Heidegger
when your first move, after being cut off by a black man in traffic, is to call him a…
I came to know better

Co-opting feminist rhetoric
coercing women to suck your dick
It’s called being sex-positive, babe

Thank god,
I came to know better
I never came –
but I came to know better

For you, philanthropy was fashion
no good deed went unpublished
your Facebook timeline a deluge of online petitions
shared news articles,
preceded by a comment of ‘THIS.’
all this interspersed with pictures of you and your mates
perched on an outdoor couch
smoking bongs
shapeless figures blurred into one
under the soft light of a vintage film camera

Your pseudo-leftist doctrine of beliefs didn’t fool me long
they were just like your favourite T-shirt – you know the one
with the look-at-me-red colour,
‘Enjoy Capitalism’ written in the Coca-Cola font
purchased for $39.99 online 

When you turned 28
the girls were still 18
they were just like me
Oh, wow. You’re into anarchy and polyamory, whoa! That’s neat!
you’re not a ‘freak’
you’re no freer than me
with your Brunswick share-house subsidised by Daddy
he’ll make sure you always land on your feet

Speaking of – it’s time you grow up                     
and wear some goddamn shoes


Lizz K is a writer based in Melbourne.


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