Fall 2009, Volume 7

Poetry by Eric Morago

The Next Morning

I am brushing my teeth with her toothpaste.
Its tang of mint stronger than I prefer,
but it’s there on that sink top, convenient,
like bodies are after too much to drink,

like excuses for actions, and like beds.
We are sharing the space of her hotel
room’s vanity sink and she is wrapped in
one of their terry cloth towels, whiter

than white and smelling of far too much bleach. 
We are close enough to smell such things, but
keep enough polite distance between us
as to not forget we are still strangers

here.  And we will be after this morning,
after these limbs of flesh have shaken the
memory of the other like fall leaves.
But right now, on the ridge of her shoulder

beads of water rest in that uncertain
moment, before they grow too heavy, lose
their perfection and glide down skin.  I am
pretending not to notice this, afraid

if she catches me she will think I want
to know too much—the name of the first boy
to break her heart, or everything she hates
about herself.  Instead I lean over,

swish and spit the minty froth from my mouth,
and watch it spiral under the running
faucet just before it disappears, washed
away like a face, and someday a name.


BIO: Eric Morago's work has appeared in various publications, including an anthology of Orange County poets entitled Carving in Bone published by Moon Tide Press and has poems appearing in an forthcoming anthology of Long Beach poetry published by World Parade Books. He has been a featured poet all over Southern California, has taken first place in numerous poetry slams, and is the Poet in Residence of the California Workforce Association. In May of 2009, Eric earned his MFA in poetry from California State University, Long Beach.