Death. The body in its most natural state. The end of wanting. The quieting of the heart and its infinite cravings. Give me. Touch me. Love me back. See me. The body elegance of all that is gone. Exposed. Bones holding moonlight. Bones holding marrow like thin hives. Honeybees take sustenance here. Now, let me be hollow. Essential. Self. Death as downstream. In death, my body owes nothing.
In love, it asks everything.
When a kiss opens up in the mouth. A kiss you’ve waited for and wanted your whole life. Mouth widens yes. Take it all in. The body would welcome death like a kiss.
But then there’s this.
Then there’s her.
Insecure about her square jaw. Her thick knuckles. Her body solid as a stone. Something I could lean on. Something that could bear my weight. Singing her body into mine.
Rhythmic. Percussive. Magic.
I get off with just her breath on my neck. I get off on just the taste of her kiss. Tangled in her bedsheets. Her pelvis pressed to mine. Bone on bone. I lick the pale white peach fuzz on her jaw and taste metal. I hold her close afterwards because it always makes her cry.
The way girls like us don’t know what to do with that much tenderness.
Kindness makes us crazy.
Love fucks us up.
I could touch a boy and never feel a thing. Embarrassed by their desperate bodies.
It is different with her.
She measures the weight of my breast in her hand and calls it beautiful. She licks a river down my spine and makes me feel the currents. Water racing to the only logical destination. Yes. She presses into me and it is nothing but honeyspill to her wrist. Her touch of yes. Of sweetness. Of now.
Also, our words. The throb and hum of vocal cords. Before. Talk like breath. Talk like air. Empty and possible. Memories of no pain. Memories of not feeling like broken glass. I breathe her words in.
But calamity always comes to the sickhearted.
Love erodes my heart from a fist to a thin fingernail moon. Obliteration. Shadow black. Nearly new. I am a horrific creature. I forget my name and hers. I forget thin fingernail moons left on my skin. Hands contracting around my shoulders. Tattooed scab reminders. Someone touched me long enough to leave a mark once.
Our vigil at the river. Waiting for shooting stars. We swallow ecstasy like candy. Bourbon chasers. Beer cherry red. Blood red. Her mouth red.
I am so naked I take my skin off again. Shed it like a birch tree and lay it down in the black sand dirt of the riverbank. Just a body dancing. Splashing. Water cold and cleansing everything. John the Baptist. Reborn. Holier than Jesus.
Women in the water. Riverstones in my mouth. I suck them clean. Birth them back from between my lips smooth and round as vowels. Silent as prayers and the still pools we swim in.
Blood songs. Blood swimmers. Her bonewhite skin painted with mud. Swirls around her belly. Serpentine coils around her throat. Long mudraked arrows on her thighs. I read her holy sigils. Mysteries. Litanies. Her thighs part in indigo water.
The meteor shower never comes.
Or that’s what we tell ourselves, too busy charting the planetary pull of the other. When she sinks, her hair fans out around her.
Water so dark I can’t see her.
School of fish.
Someday I will forget this.
Maybe I already forget this.
She grows gills beneath her sharp jaw. She stays under so long she’s no longer human. I want to call her back to the rocks with me. Come back to me. But, instead, I swallow one smooth stone so I will remember. Her scales flash silver in black water.
I swallow the moment down.
Swallow her down.
We aren’t trying to die. But aren’t avoiding it either.
There is nothing else anyone can do that will hurt me.
Nothing left to destroy.
She is part girl, part fish.
I am part girl, part dead thing.
Two girls high at the river.
The stone lodges in my belly. Unmovable. Like my heart.
She doesn’t come back. At least not to me. She suddenly knows about breathing underwater.