Michael Ventura-Rogers

A year before it was all over, and my pearl-handled stiletto carved a stupid, vain apology

—with letters the size of smaller children—into your hallway’s drywall; long before I

cheated and you tried zippoing the frays in my jeans, as the blackness of drunken sleep

overcame me; months before you learned the difference between whiskey with an “e”

and without, and I taught myself tennis just to beat your father on his own La Jolla court;

weeks before we ground eachother raw-pink and salty on the black sands of Rosarita,

half-pitying the stars with their dimmer blips by far; even going back to the night we met,

but still further, before the campus badges’ half-smirked warnings and my fumbling dorm

keys; before the backseat’s iron-meshed screen and our uncuffed hands tinted blue and

red and well-kept to ourselves; yes, just seconds or millennia before their official

flashlights’ beamed exposure: 


we sat abreast in bedsheets turned makeshift-togas at the sovereign corner of a Frat

couch's mingling stains and jutting cotton-clouds. The lips of flipped plastic vessels met

tables in ale-chugging boat races, subwoofers bumped house, and many yet-smooth

palms over-tapped kegs frothy, as my fingers entered cumulus atmospheres inside that

torn upholstery with each progressive fidget, closing near to hear the patchy word

mosaic of a future-projected you—a you of the possible now—delivering infants in

perfectly sterile rooms. And yes, there were kisses covering all senses with groping,

beer-wet hands along twining bodies vibrating, then, loudest of all in a house party

cleared by sirens without our noticing—


two red solo cups 

spot lit glorious before 

regret’s fermenting.

Michael Ventura-Rogers received his MFA in poetry from California State University, Long Beach and is the former art editor of its RipRap Literary Magazine. His work has appeared in Serving House Journal. He runs a local indoor softball and baseball training facility. Various mental and physical programs that he has created and facilitated along with non-profits have yielded over 140 college scholarships to schools all around the country—the majority of these athletes were the first in their families to attend a university.