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After a while, we become familiar, even comfortable with eachothers bodies in our spaces.  Yours asleep next to me doesn't keep me awake unless I want it to.  My hands wander your midsection and know just where to go, the short hand of kisses and moans.  The way we never seem to end up where she should on the bed a running joke, but it's always an unruly tangle of limbs and tongues. An animal understanding of pleasure driving us to the edge and back.  I don't know how to write erotic poetry without using sex as a metaphor for distance, for all the spaces between, but rarely are there spaces between, and so in this way, you are different from the rest, the spaces between us are soft spaces and easily traversed before breakfast, lined with sheep and wildflowers.


I want to tell you that I am afraid of everything.  Large Insects and fish, Empty swimming pools. Cars lingering in alleys.  Death.  My own. My parents. Yours. Fear is a totebag I carry around and keep tossing things into.  It's a kind of crazy I can get behind, some days heavier than others.  I worry over 12 story hotel suicides and my bus pluneing into the lake.  Of all the things than can wrong and inexplicably will, one thing after another like a row of dominos.  For months after 9/11, I dreamed every night of a city in ruins and I was the sole survivor. I moved effortlessly alone in my new ruined world.  I carried my totebag, alone, even with a broken arm.


Sometimes I say novels ruined me in the way they ruin all young bookish girls, slowly and tenderly rotting out the light and making room for the sweet dark.  Love is always terrifying, full of fevers and corsets and heavy velvet curtains. You get one sweet moment of passion and then you die of consumption or childbirth. Or worse, you spend your days making polite conversation over teacakes and babies. Literature is perilous place, but the peril is exquisite as pearl earrings stolen from the body of someone's dead, but devoted wife.  It's pretty, but actually pretty terrifying.


The first few weeks, we kiss so much my face blossoms with the most exquisite sort of damage, a rubbing of smooth skin and rough beard, rashing and blistering like an algae bloom conspicuously across my chin I have to stop myself  from making out with your out in elevators, movie theaters, taxi cabs   Mostly because mostly when I am not, I would rather be kissing you, On our second date, we walked home from a bar and it smelled like the whole neighborhood was on fire, the stars bright and clear and something expectant in the air.  This fact true and not at all manufactured for the sake of art, but then again, it's hard to tell what is in my head and what is in yours, what is the collective hallucination of a thousand couples walking down north side streets in the middle of the night. What ghost of us still haunts every block between here and there.  I'd like to say the moon was full, but I don't remember, only that I kept leaning in closer and closer as we drank until I could feel your thigh against my knee. Only that it seemed an important and artful thing to remember. This, the clear sky, and everything burning down.


I am trying to write the truest thing I know. Love is a word that seems foolish enough to write on a chalky, sugared heart. What I mean when I say I love you is that I like you the very best of all the chocolates in the box.  I stuff my pockets with you,  greedy to the seams.   Before, each pluck of my fingers left a space behind that filled with black.  I’ve tasted every one. Put it back. Now, it's all candy hearts and parade floats. Foil hearts spinning above a dance floor.   This is the truest thing I know.

image: Orlando Echeverri