The Business of Black and White Underpants

by Lynne Schmidt

The week after I meet you
I end up at Victoria’s Secret
and spend seven dollars on a black and white
boy-short cut underpants –
the sexiest pair I have ever owned.


I listen to the conversations around us
and am sure to wear them at every outing
we’ll both be at.


I imagine you will unwrap me like a present
taking the time to marvel at the body before you.


Instead, when it happens,
it happens robotic, like I am a machine in the assembly line
of girls who fall into your bed.
It is all business, and matter of fact,
done so many times it has lost its meaning.


Your hands are clumsy and I
do not tell you when it hurts.
When the yelp threatens my throat,
I tell him to stop.


He removes his hands,
Pats me on the head and says
You’re welcome.
I do not stay.
I wait for him to fall asleep before walking
with bare feet into the night.
When I get home, I wash the blood out,
wondering what his sheets looked like
after I left.


Lynne Schmidt is the grandchild of a Holocaust survivor, and mental health professional with a focus in trauma and healing. She is the winner of the 2020 New Women’s Voices Contest and author of the chapbooks, Dead Dog Poems (forthcoming from Finishing Line Press), Gravity (Nightingale and Sparrow Press) which was listed as one of the 17 Best Breakup Books to Read in 2020, and On Becoming a Role Model (Thirty West), which was featured on The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed for PTSD Awareness Week. In 2012 she started the project, AbortionChat, which aims to lessen the stigma around abortion. When given the choice, Lynne prefers the company of her three dogs and one cat to humans.