what i first noticed about her was
the enormous military-issued package
of condoms sticking out of her day bag
(they were MAGNUMS i guess)
she must have caught me staring
(MAGNUMS are hard to miss)
because she yelled to me
from across the room:
‘excuse me’? i said. ‘no, i guess
not. i guess i was just wondering if you were
trying to send me a message with those things’.
‘i was’, she said. ’that’s why i asked.
all day i’ve been trying to give these condoms
away to a worthy, how should i say this, to a worthy–’
‘customer’? i said, and she looked me up and down
like i’d just had a seizure –
i was standing on my toes just then
to appear taller than i actually am-
‘sorry’, she said. ‘fuck shop’s not open for business’.
all at once i dropped to
the floor at ease, although
in truth, i’m not sure
‘i’m looking to give these
away because i’m trying not to have sex for a while’.
‘we’ve all been there’, i lied. and so she walked away
and so i looked down at myself through her eyes–
you know, the way you
look at yourself when you meet someone you think you like
because you aren’t supposed to, and
so you need to double-check if you have any
large vegetables sticking out of your pockets.
*This was a type-writer poem composed for a stranger.
The topic requested was: ‘spying on strangers’.