In the laundry room, Monica hand-washes her G-string thong, chosen from the four-dollar bin at Giant Tiger, pancakes and syrup cartooned on the crotch. A bar of white soap clouds her hands. She says if I don’t tell, it’ll work in my favour. My parents call that kind of underwear floss-like, offensive, have banned it from our house.
My sister is a senior with shaggy hair and a tough, acned boyfriend. She keeps rum in a drawer, her bed in the closet, the pitched-roof attic above her to prove she is brave.
Monica and her girlfriends return from a strip mall with paper bags and a reel of photos—three girls, socks down bras, fish-lipped and peace-signing.
She leaves a fuchsia thong under my pillow, a kitten on the tag with hearted eyes.
At school, I expose the thin straps above my jeans, around my hips. The chafing fabric, thin waistband— the first on a laced line of many firsts.
My sister no longer does the washing alone.
All we wish to be is as fierce as the fabric fixed pretty and stretched between our legs.
Monica and I never talk about sex. It is something we bathe away in a deep sink, hang to dry quietly on the wooden ledge of my bunk-bed. Sex drips water on the floor at night. Sex is a small triangle.
Sex is the trees blowing snow on the pane.
It towels above my head. It turns my eyes smoky and blue. Sex reaches the edge of the yard one day. He asks me to eat meatball heroes and listen to Straylight Run in his basement. I learn what I wear underneath can shape this. Twice a week, in the laundry room, before our parents come home, Monica and I wash our forbidden underwear.
We wring out the simple in us, our hands oily, dishonest, our worlds soft goat’s milk.