Jefferson Carter The 2River View, 8.2 (Winter 2004)

My eighteen-year-old asks if I'd be
uncomfortable buying him condoms.
No problem, my inner adult answers.
My inner jerk wants to add, as long
as you're not going to use them.
I’m face to face with the fruit
& flower of late capitalism, an entire wall
of prophylactics—Trojans, Avanti,
Durex, Inspiral, fifteen different brands—
red & silver & gold boxes. I forgot to ask
what kind he wants—Extended Pleasure,
Ultra-sensitive Ribbed, Studded Texture,
Magnum Shared Sensation or, God forbid,
Lifestyle Luscious Flavors. I shut
my eyes & fumble a box off its hook
the way people used to shut their eyes
& open the Bible to a random passage.
How little I know about my son.
I remember sitting in bed beside my first love,
quaking, our hands like wood, waiting
for the call from the doctor’s office.