The night you celebrated getting a restraining order against your father, you were doing keg stands in
a pink taffeta dress;
you collapsed in the grass in a thrall of laughter. And, god, everyone there was so young. I was a
hot off of nearly marrying someone I didn’t love, a month away from quitting the Midwest forever.
I want to say
you looked like a sort of flower upside-down over the steel beer-barrel—the calyx of shimmering
fabric, your legs
out at angles, stigma and stamen—but you didn’t. You looked overripe, familiar as a tomb; you were
the twenty-two bones of our skull.
And as you wheeled and sprung around your actor friends, the strands of Christmas lights above the
scene became alien, tropical
fish shining on the slow surface of the nearby creek. Later we struggled for breath—your grip on my
throat so tight I could feel it for days—we ground our shoulder blades
into the glass-studded carpet. & I never told you I loved you but in the way I dragged you across
rooms by your hair, stammering, naked, or when, because you asked
I hit you so hard your jaw came undone—I didn’t know what to do with your crying, but we fucked
through it, anyway.
What of the spaces inside our bodies? The porphyries and slick yellow fat? What of the shrines we
put up there?
Yesterday you told me over the phone that you are in love, that it is something. All of this
now so far behind us
it seems like someone else’s story, like a film we’ve both seen where the actors’ names are forever
at the tips of our tongues, I tell you I am happy.
Something real, you say. Jane, I have never split an animal down its center. I have never read the signs
that boil in the still pulsing guts,
but I have loved so many people in all the wrong ways, and when I pray I can’t keep from
laughing—I say: fuck it.
I have worn the blood-drawn shape of her hand around my throat like a crucifix. & if there
is one beautiful thing left in my body, let it be picked clean and bleached.