Megan McDermott


Cup of salvation, straight peach schnapps – consecration by desire.
We danced and drank in the living room, me in a borrowed bra

after a roommate declared my boobs underwhelming.
Ritualized preparation for strange hands sliding down our hips.

I hadn’t discerned yet what counted as sin – the drunkenness,
the touching, both? I only knew the list of things God didn’t want

me to want had grown tedious. My body up against a stranger’s
up against a wall wrote its own theology – liberation treatise

on limbs previously dedicated to an obvious and irrepressible
aura of abstinence. That year, I let the aura peel, though facts

underneath stood firm. I was fine with being a virgin
as long as I didn’t dance like one. Sometimes I wondered

what guys guessed, though I clarified myself by the night’s
end – the way I’d let our bodies move together, aggressive,

then duck their kisses and scurry home in a protective gaggle
of girls drunk off Arbor Mist, a friend once yelling,

“She’s literally preaching tomorrow,” to rebuff a football player
who wanted us to get high back in his dorm room. Whoever

was least drunk proffered reminders about drinking lots of water
while we exchanged forehead kisses goodnight – blessing

what was done and left undone. In there somewhere, unspoken
reassurance: Christ’s body still in ours, twenty-one and horny,

collapsing onto respective beds, wondering, sighing,
What if, this time, I had told that stranger yes, yes?

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