The day of her nineteenth birthday, she fell for a pair of hands holding a camera. These hands, such blistering control, such feathered grace, sliding a rough index finger along her jaw and pushing her head hard against the tree, exposing a collarbone. Opening a door.

To begin with, it’s exactly what we feared. And worse. Now, language doesn’t mean any more than puss leaking from a wound I keep reopening with a too long fingernail. Now, open means to fight.

if I heard what he was dearly saying, I would smother him in hot
wax to freeze the tongue

a reclamation of personal faith

Bleeding sounds like

provide and sustain. The delicate lapping of water. An animal’s tongue on cold steel. I learn how to listen for the first moment. To what turns an origin into a document. That smell of drying mud olive oil freezer burn.

I pull my own hair. Draw blood from the skin at your hips.

Sounds like

a poorly lit waiting room. Humidity. A fogged window releasing a heart with your name inside.

Between the wheels of a subway train and its tracks or off the crags of stones or even the space between your dog’s toes, between a curtain and its stage, or the air vibrating between two bodies, we may hope to find a world apart. Where time envelops space, shadowing it, scrambling it and then gluing it back together in a different scene, in quiet, anxiety-ridden hovels of pleasure lifted from pain.

We lay belly to belly, and he caresses the back of my neck with a sixth sense renewed, a fear of my body.

The damp air is slowing down. It makes him feel unclean. Salt grease stuck to his hair. He wonders: Have I done something wrong?

He prepped the ink and I caressed the virgin spot one last time. The first prick was a bee sting. The second was a cherry Life Saver bursting in my mouth.