for M

You say my neck smells like ten years ago
& here we are, students again, drunk
against the wall of our favorite club in the city,
where we danced to French music on Wednesdays,
& Arabic oldies on Fridays, & on Saturdays
it was dark enough & Bon Jovi still
sounded good in “Bed of Roses.” My body
believes your hands that travel down, & down
years & years of us, & up to that first
small kiss by the river (I remember
the sound of it, mostly). Will the best songs

always feel like oldies now? & should we
be worried? Dalida has a song where she forgets
she’s twice 18 & almost autumn,
wears too much makeup & seduces
a young man. I ask you if, in theory,
an eighteen-year-old god would want
to undress me, & you inhale
through your teeth, begin
to say something when
our little girls call us back
from across these rooms & we walk
down the corridor toward them.

We’ve become better at this entangling
of our bodies, though we don’t recover as fast
from vodka anymore, & the headaches last
longer. Last weekend, we lay hungover
on the sofa all day, & our girls
watched as much TV as they wanted,
& they said, Thank you thank you.
We knew better, but still allowed
love to sound easy sometimes.
& yes we’ve wasted so much, & so many
of our days, but do you remember
your old car? I was jealous of her,
called her Bitch, complained about
the windows that got stuck, & the seats,
but she always got us home, despite
our speed & intoxication, foolish
gods that we were, that we are.

Zeina Hashem Beck