The Distance Between Your Head and My Shoulder This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

October 23, 2010
“I want to curl up in someone else’s soul and die there.”
You let your words drop, but “die” you hit like a hand on a drum.
You look to see if I’ll laugh, so I smile.

Thank God you can’t read my mind,
‘cause I’m remembering stepping
on a rat in my uncle’s basement.
Its fur, its fat, its bones
compressed under the weight of my foot before I pulled away.
The animal lay with its chin tucked into its chest.

I can feel you trembling, my arms around your waist.
My big hands appreciate the curve of your hip
and your stomach muscles tightening as you giggle.
This is the closest you’ve come (you’re still young, though)
to being held so tightly by someone,
as if he wanted to meld your flesh
into his,
as he kissed you and called you
precious, powerless thing.

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