But, oh, your mouth – listen.
Listen: I could write odes to your mouth. I could dedicate my life to mapping out your tongue, your cranberry gums, the rows of ivory teeth, standing like soldiers. Your mouth pulls words from me, words like ‘wrecked’ and ‘wanting.’
Listen: when I was ten, my mother gave me her wedding ring and told me not to fall in love. She warned against the hands of men and eyes like fingernails. But it was the mouths she hated most, she said, the mouths like Adonis’s lean and freckled waist. Mouths full of cemeteries. Mouths full of tombstones.
Listen: I love you so much that the sky burns with it. We woke together in New York today and the dawn was on fire. When you made me breakfast, all the cirrus clouds were scattering and stumbling over themselves, borne blue from smoke. I kissed your shoulder blade, and the sun made love to the horizon. You taste like burning to the ground.
Listen: I turned sixteen, and a man touched me for the first time. He was my brother’s best friend, seared and sun-kissed. It did not happen slow, it happened hard against the kitchen counter, swallowing my consent. Bruises, legs, lips. That was the first mouth I touched, and it still stains my teeth some days. I’m sorry if sometimes you taste him, but he almost swallowed me whole.
Listen: my father was made of concrete and steel. Especially his fists, and I inherited them.
Listen: I was taught from a young age that love is supposed to leave you bruised.
Listen: you are teaching me softness. You are teaching me warmth. I love you so much, it makes a birds’ nest of my heart.
Listen: the thrushes sing, and it sounds like Manhattan collapsing into dust.