The Sweater

It fit me like a barrel,
the thicket of woven wool
with a teddy bear sewn on front.

It was the kind of sweater you hoped
never to get.
I picked it out myself
both from the store and tonight,
for the dance.

I spied K’s circle of girls
at mid-court in low and strobe light
and stepped to them,
joining seamlessly their awkwardice:
the awnings of shoulders guarding
fresh breasts and minimizing
torsos; bodies barely moving
as if stillness could hide
the frantic revelations
of the turbulent flesh.

But I had The Sweater
and an uncanny sense of The Beat.
Off I went with my made-up steps,
secure in a thick woolen cask.

I watched K watch me
for half a song

—and then that look in her eye,
and that lean into my ear—

her mouth pouring breath
down my neck
as she said:

You look like a teddy bear.

At that I could
have thrown
my baggy body
into the sun

just to stop its shining on me.