It stopped my heart and threw me on my hands
and knees, like a tornado thundering
down the street and kicking over trees.
He had an alabaster face and a nose
carved straight as a line. You could tell he
was sad (his mother was dead), but he
carried his beauty simply, like a hat
tucked under his arm. Jazz was his native
tongue. One night he dropped a needle on
Wes Montgomery’s “Down Here on the Ground”
and we listened to the notes with our eyes closed,
leaning on each other like a couple
of lindens locked at the top. Afterwards,
we stepped between the dorms where no one
could lay a hand on us and he said it again
in that mesmerizing voice, “you oughtta
be against the law.” When I turned to laugh
at him, his lips were already on mine.
They were warm, like cherries left out in
the sun, and the next thing I knew, I was
hooked on him for life and no matter what
he said or did after that, or how many
times he hit me; even after he got
tired of me and pushed me down the stairs,
I can’t explain but I stayed like that,
on my hands and knees, begging for his love.
Lisa Low’s essays, book reviews, and interviews have appeared in The Massachusetts Review, The Boston Review, The Tupelo Quarterly, and The Adroit Journal. Her poetry has appeared in a variety of literary journals, among them Valparaiso Poetry Review, Pennsylvania English, Phoebe, American Journal of Poetry, Delmarva Review, and Tusculum Review.