The first time we hooked up I wore a red bra with black roses. When you took it off my hands were all in your hair and you told me I was beautiful as you kissed the empty breasts beneath. You wanted me, no, needed me, you said. I smiled; I had become a need.
The first time we had sex I wore the red bra with the black roses. Nothing was said about my breasts that time. Nothing was really said at all. As we were leaving the bedroom I realized I was braless. In the dark, you helped me look for it, drunkenly fumbling around a stranger's bedroom in order to hide our misdeed. Your hands found it first; you cupped the mold in your hands, holding it up to your face as if you wanted to kiss it. Instead, you tossed it into my open arms. When I put it back on, my chest began to ache with false supports.
The last time we had sex, I went to take off the red bra with black roses. No, keep it on, you said. It's sexier that way. It was by this time that the red bra with black roses had begun to fray, the hooks slowly tearing into my back, wires into my ribs like a cage. The roses, rather than black with sex, were sick with blight, torn and stepped on like field grass. As you fucked me it was never my face you looked at, but the trampled garden of my breasts. You took a garden and burned it, leaving only ashes in the shapes of cold, flowery ghosts. To you, that made me beautiful.
Yesterday was the last day I ever wore the red bra with black roses. It was too small, my body no longer able to carry the weight of its graveyard. My new one is grey, silver like the rain come morning, soft like the lover's touches you never gave me. I am burning the red bra with black roses. As the smoke rises, my chest stirs. The black roses you loved so much are rising with them, planting themselves in a garden of Eden, in a place you can never touch them.
Christi Sessa is student at Goshen College studying Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies. She loves writing, marching, and advocating for social justice issues. When she is not trying to save the world from evil, she is often found in her bed, sleeping or cuddling with her cat, Princess.