Those long ago pink-lipped boys
whose tongues were too pushy,
the sleazy drunks on New Year’s.

During sixth grade social studies
I kissed and sucked on my bare arm.
My skin tasted of tulips in April.

Now it’s the standard goodnight
after our reading lights switch off,
the hand on familiar flesh.

But, oh, my dog. Letting the dog
slobber my lips. The warm, the slick,
the touch of connection. To be

what I was as a baby, an animal
tended by animals, knowing
the world with my mouth.