Emma Buckley

Emma Buckley

Jackie, I Want to Fuck Your Boyfriend

I’ll pretend it’s got nothing to do with getting close to you.
When he says I love you, I’ll know he’s picturing your eyes
widening like a wild rabbit in headlights, your sundress hitched
like a breath around your thighs, but he’ll say it like he means it.
            So will I. Jackie, if I can’t love you, then I will love everything
            your fingers have touched.
I can lean in and pretend his lips are yours while he pretends
that my lips are yours too as our fingertips brush.
You can give me that much.

Jackie, I love the way your jacket hangs around your shoulders.
I love the way you bend over. I love the way you pull your hair back
behind your ears so you don’t singe the ends with your cigarettes.
I love how badly you want your cool-girl nonchalance to be noticed.
Hence, the cigarettes. I remember you at the bonfire,
our plastic cups, our artifacts of girlhood and god knows what,
that night you looked at me, electric,
            took my hand and sang Seether into my mouth,
            drank too much warm beer and blacked out.
It felt like a ritual. It felt like a conjuring.

I’ve stood back and watched you pick your lovers,
try them on for size, throw them out when they don’t fit right.
Jackie, for you, I’d learn to fight.
I could throw a punch the boys would never see coming,
just like I never could in our playground days,
before short skirts and lollipops meant something,
right around the time these thoughts of you
            started getting worse. I could one-two with the best
            of them. I could leave a bruise.
Jackie, I don’t want your boyfriend. I want you.

I want your hand in mine. I want your summertimes.
I picture you wearing my Sex Pistols t-shirt like a dress,
standing at the window in your socks and bedhead.
The light always washed me out like a polaroid flash
but you glow. Your stray hairs a halo, my knees buckling
on instinct, memories of church. Jackie, I want you
at our kitchen table, slicing fruit for cocktails.
            I want your bleeding thumb in my mouth.
I remember when I choked on your cigarette smoke
and you laughed
from the deepest part of your throat
            and taught me to inhale.

EMMA BUCKLEY is a writer and poet living in Belfast. She is studying for a Masters in Poetry at the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University Belfast. Her work can be found in The Honest Ulsterman, Crow & Cross Keys, The Lumiere Review and Superfroot