She sits with her ankles crossed on her front steps, picking at the holes in her stockings to let the bitter weather in to slide it’s tongue across her skin. She uses her mind as means to keep warm, channeling the mouths that have touched her own and left traces of heat between the cracks, tucked into the edges of a smirk that had once playfully touched them. She aches for men she has never had. Though to think, to notice someone from afar and wonder for nights what taste hides behind their teeth is to feel them. With this in mind she curls into herself tighter, biting into the soft flesh of her cheeks. If obsession over the taste of a stranger meant enough as it did to have them, 213 men had occupied her heart that night.
my socks are pulled up to
my thighs like your fingers
clasped on my knees and
the cigarette stains my
fingertips and I can’t pull
you to my lips like I want to
but I taste you nonetheless
and isn’t it so beautiful
to taste another tongue
when they’re gone. on your
leftover mug in the kitchen
with the morning uncomfort-
able on the rim and your
blue sheets pale with your
lack of sleep
and the soap left in
the shower and your skin
around my apartment
Maybe she doesn’t like her hair to be played with. These little things bother you, I know they do. She doesn’t have a weird fascination with your ankles, and you won’t have to feel shy about showing them or keeping them hidden to torment her. She wouldn’t kiss them even if you let her. She might stay asleep with you throughout the night, but I promise it’s the one’s that leave the bed that feel you the most. The ones that tip toe to the bathroom to lean forward on the sink, straining their wrists and staring back at themselves, having to find some sort of normalcy and sense of self from being tangled up in you for so long. The ones that you find at 3 in the morning sitting halfway out the windowsill, your t shirt exposing their legs, what you don’t know is when they lick their lips they’re tasting you there. She won’t miss dinners because she got caught up in her book, she won’t tousle with your hair to side part it, she won’t call you handsome. You might hardly ever fight with her, she might never get on your nerves, never give you any feeling but utter happiness, but I promise it’s the one’s that raise hell that feel you the most. The ones that feel you so heavily that sometimes, they just need to rid of pieces of you. The ones that want you to get angry at them, the ones that want to be challenged and the ones who appreciate your separation just to hear the rain dripping from your coat sleeves as you softly knock on the door, waiting for them to answer even though it is just as much your space as it is their’s. She won’t cook you sweets at all hours of the night, she might be dieting, maybe sugars aren’t her thing. You won’t come home to a mirage of kisses, her lips against yours whispering the kinds she’s giving you, your favorite, her favorite, the deep one, the one where I pull your lip like this, the sweet one, our little peck. She might not leave you alone when you ask her to, she might persistently want you and want to be the one that helps you, the one that couldn’t stand to see you falling apart, but I promise you it’s the ones that let you crumble and keep a gentle company that feel you the most. The one’s that fix your coffee black the way you like it and leave it by your chair every morning even though you won’t drink it. The one’s that leave the bathroom door open while they’re in the bath, because you always find your way in to sit beside the tub to watch one another, you bathing and him bathing in you. The one’s that, when you find your way out, you can roll over to and look at them and know that it’s understood, that you’re out and you’re safe, and you’re so sorry it took so long but you’re here, and you’re home. She might buy you gifts, she might flood you in your favorite shirts, the cologne she yearns for against your skin, she might even give you mind numbing sex that never gets old or wears out. But I promise you it’s the one’s that are subtle in everything they do that feel you the most. The one’s that are frustrated with colognes because then, they say, they can’t smell you. The one’s that buy you cards and run out of room to write because they’ve gotten carried away. The one’s that cry when they’ve given you something because of how much of themselves they’ve exhausted into it. The one’s that don’t just fuck you, but who’s moans ring from their lips and it’s all you can do to hear it one more time. She might not leave her notepads lying around, pages torn out with unfinished sentences. She might make the bed, prefer the room clean and the windows closed when it’s raining so it doesn’t soak your things. She might always be up and ready in the mornings to go out, to do everything that she can with you while the two of you are together. And it should be that way. It should. But is that enough? Because I promise you it’s the ones that are messy with their love that feel you the most. The one’s who will write on any notebook they find about a kiss the two of you had shared the previous week that was all but just a kiss to her. The one’s who leave their things by the window regardless of the ruin from the rain because they like to be weathered, to be aged, for their shirts to be soaked and stuck to their ribs because they enjoy watching you peel it off like a layer of skin you’ve claimed. The one’s that will forget to set the alarm and hurry and trip with you when you’re both late for work, but manage to slip in a quick kiss before you’re out the door. The one’s that will pull you back to bed, and leave it messy throughout the day only to tempt the both of you back into it. At times, she may be all over the place. But she will not bring you with her, tucked in her lips, her pockets, her fingers, her hair. But I will, okay? So when you’re ready, I will. I will.
I wonder if the person I end up marrying has their nose nuzzled into someone else’s neck right now, and all they have to do is breathe in the smell of their hair or the skin at their shoulder and they know, this is only temporary.
“There are endless ways to capture a woman just by her hands.” she muses. ”It would be dangerous for her, even, to know her as well as you would after just having touched them. How intimately you could discover her. How unfair it is, to expose her in such a way.”
And you will know her as the way she holds her Lilies. The fragrant blood stains her skin, for she is a smotherer. She grasps until she depletes the life out of this thing that she has, she becomes so utterly exhausted with these things and feels them so helplessly that they live short, but whose heart’s die hard. And even while mid-death she appreciates the scent of the kill. ‘This is what the end smells like.’, she must think, and simply closes her eyes and lets it die.
“I want to be held like a museum.” she said to me. “I want pieces of my hands framed in spacious rooms, six by six prints of knuckles against flesh. How beautiful it would be to have a building filled with nothing but occupied fingers. Sometimes I can look at a man’s hands and that is all I want to know before sleeping with him.”
She says all she needs is her hot chocolate and her books, her front steps and her sweaters. For the pages smell like the chill in the leaves and the mug tastes like all her lover’s past, the concrete leaves marks like sleep and the knits leave room to remind her that there are things bigger than herself, while she collapses in the warmth. This, if any a time, is when your love for her will go most nourished. This is when she will pay attention. When her breath smells like late night cafe’s, and her skin like pumpkin spice. The fall sits in her hair, her bottom perched on the steps with the night on her bare legs, kissing her knees.
Sometimes I worry that I only drink to taste your lips.
Some people drink to forget, I drink to remember.
Every night alcohol touches my tongue my mouth drips how your skin tastes. I cannot get the feel of you off of me. Fingers wrapped around my ankles. Curled around the dip in my side. You so quiet, but crawling out from my lips. You’re the loudest thing I’ve ever heard. And you’re gone, but I haven’t left your bed.
My hands got in the way and had their way and your legs got in the way and my hair got in the way and your arms got in the way and my fingers got in the way and had their way and your palms got in the way and had their way and our lips got in the way and had their way and our tongues got in the way and had their way and our breaths got in the way of that silent house and your throat got in the way of my teeth and my chest your mouth and my hips your hips and my taste your taste and my skin your skin, we got in the way but we had our way.
I don’t know how to settle myself or what to think or where to put my hands, all I can think to say is 8 months later you still taste the same.
She becomes an entirely different girl on that porch. No longer even the sleepy girl that brings the night with her wherever she goes, no longer young and naively sick over romance novels and newspaper clippings glued behind the bookshelves. She’s a women. Some of her still comes through, but in tiny bursts so quick and subtle you’d think you imagined them. That if you took your eye off of her, any part of her, you’d miss it. As lithe and quiet as a single rain drop, as if it were the only one hitting the ground at that precise time, before just as softly it’s hidden to blend in with the rest. It’s not in the way she dresses, white cotton socks tugged up below and above her knees, his pale blue button up with buttons confused, exposing a deep sliver of her tanned chest, the sleeves only tight on her wrists, slipping off of her sharp shoulders before, as if an old habit, she would reach up and slide it back up to cover the skin. She sat in her grandfathers rocking chair, one knee pulled resting against the wooden arm rest, the other with toes pointed on the porch boards pushing off just enough to keep herself moving. Fists clenched with fingers. Other than that, she wouldn’t move much. No longer the fluid, fleeting girl with too much to say, too much to listen to, too much to take in. Though you had better believe she still felt. Still the girl with too much to feel, too much to listen to, too much to take in. The rain had grown so furiously that it turned the entire property just across the railing to a clouded haze, but her eyes remained on the dirt road where they had walked before. Rain drop signals. Her brow would furrow, creating a troubled indent above it, and just then, that one fragile little movement would set everything off. Then, you would see it. A bold strike of color dripping from within her fist, the thick blood of the flower crumpled in her hold trailing down the edge of her hand, sneaking beneath the washed blue of her shirt, falling to the porch. Plum stains. The damp discoloration of her socks, their soles muddy with rainwater and pebbles, small blades of grass. The girl who buried her nights in her grandfather’s garden to introduce herself to the dawn, to mingle with the morning, so sad that she had kept it a stranger for so long. They knew nothing about one another. Never once had they talked, never once had she watched it, greeted it, walked with it. An entire life she had left behind, all inches of the world illuminated, drowsy eyes sensitive to the light. She knew the night so well, but it was the day she had always slept with. It was the day who nourished her, gave her a break from the tireless fantasies, the troubles that weren’t hers, the things she’d wanted to do so desperately and those others that she didn’t, desperately. Flooded her body and drained the vodka to just her lips, leaving it there but hiding the rest, because it knew she loved the taste. It was the morning that held her, that took care of her, that let her sleep. The night was just an introduction, a deep violet tease in her ear to wander, but the morning finished her.
Every weekend at her grandfather’s she slept in that rocking chair. No one knew just when she had gotten herself up, if she had even fallen asleep, if she had even found the bed. You’d find her before noon with plum stains, muddied feet, and the morning on her cheeks. Taking her, again, away from everything that the night stirred up within her. Slept with her. Flooded her body. Held her. Took care of her, and let her sleep.