I was a girl that played therapist to boys after
they got off the phone with their girlfriends,
now a message will find me each year
in an attempt to suture decade-old lust.

one oatmeal raisin hometown hero tried to push me to
phone sex but mostly I was just a listener and not
even a good one. They told me about French
exams, coach getting mad, girlfriends not putting out

I would scoff and make them laugh
they’d tell me they loved me and I’d rest the home phone
back in its cradle careful not to wake my parents
the only brown girl in the corn field unshakeable at 16

recoiling at the grip of my own virginity
collecting boy troubles and boy traumas
good leverage for the short term but
there was no blackmail, very few hookups

just an insistent throbbing in my legs
wondering when it would be my turn to talk
wishing for my own lovers’ quarrels
and sticky evenings in backseats of cars.

Rita Mookerjee’s poetry is featured or forthcoming in Aaduna, New Delta Review, GlitterMOB, Berfrois, and Cosmonauts Avenue. Her critical work has been featured in the Routledge Companion of Literature and Food, the Bloomsbury Handbook to Literary and Cultural Theory, and the Bloomsbury Handbook of Twenty-First Century Feminist Theory.

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