I was a revolving wheel of fermented bitter and overripe sweet. If you’d have told me you loved me, I’d have said, “don’t lose sleep over it.” I would have lifted the white cotton hem of my blouse and exposed my bleached beating heart to you, at 4 in the morning as the sun began to rise red behind the nonpariel San Francisco peaks. I would have walked away and smoked your memory with coffee for breakfast.
I was flesh falling off the bone, and staring into a wall length mirror, regarding myself over a bottle of Old English. My jaw was a permanent smile beneath the skin peeling like wallpaper as the people passed by.
As the boys took a chunk of my meat for a snack and the girls took a measuring tape to my moth wing pelvic bone, I couldn’t help but grin. I couldn’t help but laugh.
You were a message written in dry erase marker, fading and increasingly irrelevant. If I’d have called you on the phone, you’d have said, “It’s time for you to be alone.”
You would have unfolded a story for me about a love that never runs out and sweet pea blossoms and sexual tension between two pure hearts. You’d have snapped my face in a freeze frame as I caught the swoon, tucked that picture in your wallet and ghosted like the chilled morning air under the hot desert sun.
You were a spilled urn.
And I, in my 40 ounce to freedom state, danced over the slate grey of you until you were indistinguishable from the dusty hardwood. I, beneath a handle of caramel liquor, beat you into the dirt like an old bottle cap.
Somehow, though, I awoke beneath you. You fell asleep on top of me and the weight of your disregard is smothering. So this is what comes of two children in love. This is the intricate barbed lace of the human mating ritual, the only species for which the end note runs into eternity. This is love beneath a microscope.