i. i don’t have a clue what love is. in my dreams it’s a seed that hums and blossoms through the ache of growth, but when i open my eyes i’m standing in a bombed-out factory shoveling sunlight into my mouth just to see if it’s true. maybe i’m soil that mingles with salt. i mean, the last man to throw that word at me drained the blood from my chest and bit my lips until they were swollen purple orchids that weren’t half as beautiful. i’m just now starting to like that color again.
ii. you didn’t look away when i showed you my hands. count the stories, i said; most of them end in iron and ash when i prayed for soap and sage. you understand, though, what it means to take what you have and turn it into something you want. to be pulled toward an anxious clash of bells. to have a heart that disobeys. you plucked truth from my mouth like cherries and in your eyes i saw the question: are you a girl who likes to be used?
iii. you’re warm, so warm, like the fields of asphodel after centuries of sitting by the river bank. the boatman’s oars sliced the water like knives and ribbons as he hacked a dry laugh and said he never thought i’d find enough change to get across. now there’s palm trees swaying in my chest, and it’s not like i meant for it to go this far but neither of us will hang up first so i lit two olive branches and said i didn’t care what i threw into the fire so long as it kept burning.