Lauren Cerruto

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,, and 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.