My mother once stepped out of the shower, her crotch
black and shiny as the Hubble photographs
they showed us in school—all those distant disks
of silent burning. But before the internet came
I had never seen a clitoris. The dial up tone rubbed its muzzle
on the window panes, exhaling ferns of radiation
on the glass. I waited two hours for ten seconds beneath
the bathroom window, my father’s Pentium II heavy
as a cannonball in my lap. I closed the blinds to cut the glare.
A woman bent over there, shaved pink as the rubber
gloves my mother kept beneath the sink. The internet
salted ice to steam on roads I never knew went through me.
Now late at night, cobwebbed in laptop light, I turn
and return, but every stumble, facial, and Facebook friend
seem to flee at the same speed as every star
from the earth. Still I hold my finger like a bat
above F5, refreshing what can’t refresh, downloading
what can’t fill me up—anything to forget
work, my brother fresh out of central state, the ground
we get put into forever. That’s how I’ve learned,
before I sleep, to check my history and hit delete.