nestles under your skin like a hookworm.
When you were younger, your father
had dirt under his nails.
He folded it into paper cranes after work.
When you thought he was gone, you would slice them open,
your near surgical precision commanding
one shivery smooth cut down the stomach.
Afterward, you traced their paper entrails for signs of him.
In school, you liked holding bugs in the crease of your palm,
letting their panic and skitter
stitch your skin with filaments of glass and sweat.
You could never understand casual cruelty.
The sanguine crunch of bone against shell
always seemed like the loveliest way to leave.
As you grow older you find pleasure in
the bitter tones of coffee,
walking barefoot downtown,
the haze of city life.
You meet a boy in the age of aging, your hands
clutching bruising sighs onto his hips, his neck, trying
to find patterns in the quiet, writhing murmurs of his skin.
He shies away from your chapped fingertips,
digs his own soft hands into
the low strapped elastic of your underwear.
You record the feeling of your callouses
scraping messy blue ink into the inside of his wrists.
You show him
the feeling of silver lined insanity,
raw laughter, brewed over with flesh and happiness,
how the air around him tastes like honey and heavy silk and iron.
It crescendos over the brittle protrusions of your ribs,
cups your bodies in the low tones of almost-night.
Given time, you find you like
the tension in his body, coiled tight
waiting for you.
You live to coax the sunken, miserly breaths
out of the nicotine-scraped wings of his lungs.
You think, under the silvered slivers
of slanted darkness, he looks more beautiful in pieces.
Snow and the sticky goodness of salt,
slow to freeze against your cheeks.
It muffles the chafe of splinters
against the sluggish throb of your heart.
Night dips the world into lurid cavities,
sugar thick like the tang of molasses on your bruises
you curl into yourself, your peace,