We read lingerie as lingering.
An innocent mistake, yes, though
we didn't dally in Patel's humid
newsstand amid hanks of cigared
tobacco and men in coveralls logger-
heading with the Pennsylvania Lotto
to expand our budding tongues
but to confuse the single shelf
of cryptograms and crosswords
with the candied shelves of pornos.
Despite our lousy decoding, we
proved adept disrobers, kid-minds
keen to peel what we'd later call satin
from skin like we peeled bright, waxy
clementines slipped in our stockings,
our reward for a year of skirting Satan.
Nonchalant as bubble gum, we thumbed
them cover to cover, lingered, elbowed
one another while we dittoed each
sweet image deep in memory's folds:
love's coy postures, saddle-stapled.
And that is how we imagined
it would be for us on those winter
afternoons: flimsy resistance, a finger's
steady pressure, the split of soft fruit.
We'd puzzle over language later.
For now, we had more important
things on our hands to misread.