Lauren A. Cerruto is a poet, fiction writer, and medical writer from northern New Jersey. Her individual poems have appeared or are forthcoming in a variety of print and on-line journals including Cliterature, Pirene’s Fountain, Margie: The American Journal of Poetry, The Journal of NJ Poets, The Paterson Literary Review, Black Fox Literary Magazine, Mothers Always Write, Ishka Bibble, Monhegan.com, and PoetsOnline.org. She is currently working on her first poetry chapbook and a novel.
Our first date, he unbuckled to show me his
favorite souvenir from Glastonbury: a cracked
brown leather belt, an inch and a half wide,
soft pliable hide that flexes and folds,
fastened with a two-inch square aged-bronze buckle.
Later, I gripped that buckle in both hands,
watched flecks of gold swim in his green eyes
as I tugged hard, made the prong slip its hole,
I left him waiting while I unthreaded
the whole thirty-four inches one loop at a time,
placed the belt in a neat coil on the carpet.
So many times since, I have pulled that broad, brown,
British belt out of khaki pants, cargo pants, dress pants,
black jeans, corduroys, cotton shorts
before untucking his shirt tails.
I have unbuttoned button-down shirts
from his throat all the way down
to that big bronze buckle, like meandering
through Security and Customs
before entering a new country.
I like it best when he wears blue jeans
and a black T-shirt, a look that makes me want
to unbuckle the broad British belt right away,
leave it threaded, so the buckle bangs
when his jeans hit the floor.
I have raised bulky blue, green, and tan
sweaters to run both hands
through the curls on his chest, slide them
to his belly, warm them along
the southern pathway of his body, all the way
to the hard, cold metal of that buckle.
It stands at the entrance like a well-built
security guard who greets me at the door
with a wink and a nod. Repetition only adds
to anticipation. Just last night,
it felt the same and still like new,
when I took the buckle in both hands,
the gold swam wildly in his green eyes,
both of us held our breath,
waiting for it to come undone.