/alexa doran

When My Son Asks Who Invented Sex

Britney Spears hits my lips faster than I expect.
His face scrunches up at me, forehead fanned

by the same fold that erodes my own each time
I try to read about string theory (tldr: trillions

of strings plus gravity). I start with her sweat but
then regret suggesting women must be top-to-

bottom wet for the invitation to be sent. Instead
I confess I’d have shaved off my left breast for

a chance to bop bikinied across MTV, to lavish
in the steam of some music video jacuzzi where

I’d wiggle and tease until it was my turn to rise
a la Dream of Jeannie. I imagine as a boy no one’s

told my son to twirl, but as a girl the command
was constantly hurled, so I’ve learned to make

my curves public turf. But! (a caveat I whisper
so he listens when it matters) the secret is sex invents

us every time we have it. Imagine orgasm as gash to
web, as dew-chewed spool on spool of thread, as

the only chance to scatter yourself then resurrect.

Another Letter I Never Write To My Toddler

I hate the word horny as if sex is dinosaur ugly
each touch tentacled and clumsy
intercourse nothing but lunging
for the nearest opening How can I make

my son see weeping pollen see the wick
thick stem of milkweed drip instead
of bodies blurred by vomit by vodka
(always vodka) I made my high school

sweetheart shout I’m shooting petals
instead of the humdrum about cum
I wanted sex to be the moat soft slather
of waves to coax me like a calla lily

scent rimmed and swollen but fuck
if sometimes it’s all talons elbows not
asses a tincture of jabs where we once
slurped molasses and so what

if it’s not actually the word which bothers
me but bodies who juice need or maybe
just bodies who need
other bodies but not necessarily me

Alexa Doran is currently working on her PhD in Poetry at Florida State University. Her full-length collection DM Me, Mother Darling won the 2020 May Sarton Poetry Prize and was published by Bauhan Publishing in Spring 2021. She is also the author of the chapbook Nightsink, Faucet Me a Lullaby (Bottlecap Press 2019). You can look for work from Doran in recent or upcoming issues of Passages North, Literary Mama, Pithead Chapel, THE BOILER, and Harvard Review, among others. For a full list of her publications, awards, and interviews please visit her website at alexadoran.com.