in the dark, i find a new boy’s tongue in my mouth like the searching hand
of a clock: the witching hour, the rhythm of his hips, magic
against mine. sweat pools at his nape, soaking his dress shirt,
but i grip a handful of hairs, pulling his sour heat into my palm.
when he tucks his name into my ear, the syllables bounce from me
like echoes. by the second kiss, i excavate
transformation from his depths, taste the tang of gunmetal.
adrift in the noise, we talk of english: the books he likes, filled with girls
with no faces, his creased slacks, my fairy-tale lace, his archive on nepali history.
when he asks me who i am, i tell him i am a writer instead of my name.
will you write of me, he asks. maybe, i answer, as if i am not cataloging
each brush of our lips as proof of his pleasure, as confirmation i am a sickness
worth catching. i leave him fever-stricken, spent, twisted sheets a lingering symptom.
the next morning i scrawl his name like evidence into every page—
evidence not of him, of his teeth flashing technicolor in the night,
but of my body’s capacity for beauty, my legs a switchblade
sharpening with every minor kill. listen, i want to say
he changed me. that throwing my first kiss into the face
of a boy i never see again fashioned me into a woman, meaning wanted,
meaning i didn’t hate the way his canines combing my lips for more,
didn’t gag on the slime of warm beer and sweat.
listen: i want to say he was worth it, that the oblivion of his mouth
and the silence of mine translated me into the minor deity i’ve always been.
after midnight, i walk home alone under broken streetlights,
dreaming of a happy ending, bricks blistering my bare feet.
after the spell, i wasn’t even beautiful. just a girl with one less kiss to give.
Emma is a writer and college student from Massachusetts with work published or forthcoming from Diode Poetry Journal, Half Mystic, Up the Staircase Quarterly, and others. Emma loves poetry, pastries, and pictures of cats.