The Bundling Board

was not for sale. And I was free
that night and the next, but listening to you

read antiqued words dusted on plaques in foreplay
shops (boutiques to stroll through, while drunk on wine)

was not how I thought the night would end.
I knew we'd take rhythm, apply it

slow—first politeness at wood tables,
over gulps of Gouda, smoked to boldness,

or dollops of Brie. (I liked the way you spread
your rye. You were smooth like that.)

So the optimist in me turned water
into chardonnay, drank it too fast, then ordered

some more. You turned seduction
into something quaint—that was new to me,

like a secret talent. Both of us drunk
in consignment shops later, you lectured

on dead owners of Box elm armoires,
copper-bottomed pots, patchwork quilts,

and cast-iron stoves. I lost interest
in vintage gossip, until we discovered

that bed in the corner, all laced and ready
for sleep or sale. The bed frame intact

with old Dutch designs. Everything could be bought
except that wooden plank slicing through the middle,

which kept things clean, which kept bodies separate.

Michelle Menting recently completed her MFA at Northern Michigan University in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula. Next she will pursue her PhD in creative writing at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. She's had work published in DIAGRAM, Blue Earth Review, 42opus, and other journals. (micment@gmail.com)

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761