Five Orgasms after reading Lydia Davis
- Fast Asleep
after “Awake in the Night”
You are sleeping beside me, but I can’t sleep, not in this roadside hotel smelling of new carpet and cigarettes. It’s late. Midnight, one o’clock, two . . . I hear the door to the next room open and slam shut. A couple starts giggling, then talking softly. Then they are having an orgasm. A loud and celebratory orgasm. Oh, oh, oh! I close my eyes and enter their room, their bed, their orgasm. Then I, too, fall fast asleep.
- The Bad Orgasm
after “The Bad Novel”
What a troubling thing it is. I bring it along with me wherever I go. There in my luggage, my purse, the back of my mind. I keep going over and over it, like a poem I never finish or get right. But I keep trying. After a while, it becomes so familiar. Like a best friend or a dog, the kind that never leaves your side. That keeps licking and licking. And barks from time to time.
- The Orgasm Guard
after “The Body Guard”
He is with me always and everywhere. He is as buff as a bull, as old as a Greek god, and so wise. He has to be. For he is the orgasm guard. The one who knows what stirs beneath my skin and mind.Who sees what lovers come and go, long before or after they leave. He protects me from the obsessive ones, the sinister ones. Even the ones who hate me. Who blame and curse me, their cold smokers’ fingers reaching out for me again and again, trying to stroke me, softly, so softly . . .
Oh yes, it’s so. Hate is as seductive as love—this he knows. Even when I turn away, I can almost feel them. I get out of bed. Comb my bottle blond hair and put the tea kettle on. Still he watches. So do they. I go about my daily tasks. Sweeping the floor, making the beds. All the while he eyes me coldly, seeing what could have been. What might still happen. So do they. Their fingers just tracing my inner thigh.
- The Frozen Orgasms
after “Frozen Peas”
I am writing to tell you, love, that we should not think back on our last years together when we lay apart in our drab winter bodies, staring at the ceiling, trying not to ask how we had arrived there, how we became those two cold shapes in the freezer department of our lives . . .
No, we should think only of those early days when we were both as shiny and new as green peas. Only slipperier.
after “After You Left”
You wanted to know what happened after you left. You wanted me to tell you all the details. But I chose to spare you.
Not to say how lonely it was. How I heard you call out goodbye love again and again, long after you strode onto the tarmac, climbed up the silver steps, your valise swinging by your side. How I saw the orgasm then, as your private airplane, rising into the air, lifting up and up. With you on board. Only you. I was so far below.
(This happens to women. You know that.)
Of course, there were other airplanes. I don’t mention those.