I’ve been learning
performative emotion
to keep the ones I’m fettered
to warm, and to feel their
slippery manacles tease
the tops of my feet
like feathers as they pull
paint my lashes black
and they’re wet  and
shaped like little


we watched fireflies and I
licked your earlobes,
tried your fingers on
while I played with truths,
denied them.
felt your chest pressed hard
against mine.  we clanked
with ease
and I took in the scene
of two people unclothed and
underneath some crescent
in your backyard
without friendship between them;
without people between them and I dared
to stare in a way that endures more than
deciduous planting.
I broke at the
not now
you spoke back
with a masculine fragility
I had never known     envied,
tried on later with pants,
unplucked eyebrows
and alone.

you became red.
  I became an unwatched bull
headed to your porch,
snorting and you were
bare faced and guarded
in all the ways
I have yet to learn.
I’m so obvious:

a scarlet blaze that starts with a joke,
two bodies parting,
an unreturned question that ends
with a sharp exclamation,
annihilation of something.
ends with a reminder from someone higher
to stop destroying something
to eliminate one part.
I am a wave of coercion
pulling you in and under
when I should have been
when I should have been laid in the grass
gently, next to the ant hills,
where you can learn my lifelines:
toes curled without injury.
when I should have been pausing to notice
there are no people between us.
when I should have been gracious,
with you and bare-faced,
or wet cheeked or

I remove the rest of my top
and close my eyes deliberately
to show you the length
of each thorn.
wear my eyes like a hooked rose
with my tongue pressed
against your chin,
my lips trace
your jaw       I say
more softly
than  ever before,
having been tempered
and forced close:
you know,
let my teeth hit your lip

I have never
become divine without first
becoming storm.


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