Deep Throat Deflowered by Pedro Ponce

The movies teach him secret keeping, the expedience of elision, the art of fading out. He learns kissing at the dollar matinee, four weeks’ allowance and a bus ride from the shaded room where he hoards quarters. He roots for change in the seams of the living room lounger, in sofa cushions that yield to his fingers like pale knees. He is usually alone in his row, hands slick with concession candy. He is too rapt to notice the other patrons, the wordless sift of movement from the back rows.

Father kisses Mother every morning, but not like this. The insinuation of lips is slow, not with care but relish. There is an unspoken choreography, obscured somewhere in frame, guiding the pivot of cheek and chin. He is always on the verge of discovery when the fade-out begins, the camera receding to a vista of gently closing doors.

“Kissing During the Credit” (image via Flickr user Nicki Varkevisser)

He remembers all this years later, when the art student invites him to coffee. She counters his stare with a volley of questions on the latest war. He accepts her edifying pamphlet, ignoring the narcotic ink smell and slanted type that warn of subversive literature.

She pours obsidian crystals from her cupboard into a rusty compact pot coaxed to boiling over a heating coil. There is no milk. He burns his tongue on the rim of the cup. The stone taste dispels his drunk to a tight corner of his forehead. He grasps something warm at his ankle, a bare foot webbed in henna.

Sorry— he says, the rest of his apology muted as her mouth opens onto his. She stokes the coffee’s burn with her breath. He tastes strawberries and cigarettes. He tilts blindly on the spoke of her tongue.

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Pedro Ponce is the author of the fiction chapbook Superstitions of Apartment Life (Burnside Review Press) and the novella Homeland: A Panorama in 50 States (Seven Kitchens Press). He has been awarded an NEA fellowship in creative writing and teaches writing and literary theory at St. Lawrence University.