Volume 22, Number 2

Thoughts on “The Small Clasp”

I have learned to conquer loneliness
the way television conquers loneliness.
The woman in the car commercial, bending
over the hood, her breasts telling me
this is the car for you, handsome.

—Matthew Dickman, “The Small Clasp”

I remember the first time you fumbled,
snapping the small clasp in the dark,

but your fingers learned quickly, and you liked me
just for being quieter than the woman who left you.

As I jiggled the door, the bounce in my bra
made the final pitch to sell you my rust-bucket car.

Sometimes I wish I could put them—my breasts,
my boobs, my tatas, my tits, the twins—

away like the knitted gift socks from Grandma
stuffed in the bottom drawer of the extra dresser,

but when the small clasp of my bra slips or fails,
I feel freer than liquor on ladies’ night, sex after prom,

the bonus donut in a baker’s dozen,
or even Sole’s pet parrot the day he got hit by a car.

Splashing feathers twelve feet into the sky,
he squawked his last, “legends never die.”

So when you asked if I came
with the car, at least for coffee,

I said sure. The truth is hooters are hopeful
like fishermen wishing, waiting for the bite of the big one.

Round and ripe, they also wear little
apple stickers, ring up to 99 cents a pound

at the front counter where the produce
man kindly double-checks the quality.

You never told me her name,
but she was your effortless moan cut short.

You were like Giacomo, the parrot, in ribbons,
pieces that glisten the color of sun-dried tomatoes.

There was beauty in you kissing my nipples. Then I saw
the way you fiddled a tv back to life, hands on both knobs.

—Sierra Golden