* — August 30, 2016
Big Sun Coming Strong Through the Motel Blinds

Before you closed the blinds
on our first morning together
you left me naked
under a Haitian quilt. This was not
the time I waited for you
with a black tulle dress and
nothing else. Tulle against
my ass against my thighs
against everything
I thought I was. This is what
a wife would do
, you note.
By this time you had already
touched me well. You’re a
different kind of professional.
There are technical terms
for what I’m doing except I left
my big words at home.
Except I wanted light
to come through. What makes
this difficult to detail is how
special it felt to be
chosen. How painful
to be a color swatch
when walls are no longer
a thing to be broken but a place
for false exploration.
Am I fading from the grace
I turned against myself
or is it truly an honor
to please someone
who doesn’t know me.
Who doesn’t know
being watched means
they have an accurate count
of tally marks revealing
the number of hotel cookies
I ate while waiting. Someone
who doesn’t know—
wanting to secretly mourn
is the same as doing it.

Originally published in No Tokens Issue No. 4. View full issue & more.

Shauna Barbosa’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Colorado Review, The Awl, the minnesota review, The Atlas Review, Mass Poetry Raining Poetry Project, Bad Penny Review, Sundog Lit, PANK and some mark made. She is currently pursuing an MFA at Bennington College. You can find her at shaunabarbosa.com.