hobart logo

September 3, 2020 Nonfiction

A Man's Leg

Dev Murphy

A Man's Leg photo

I caught a glimpse of a man’s leg, narrow but with glances of plumpness, the soft hairy shin, down to the inside of the bony foot, tapering into toes, and I was assaulted by a memory of you and your old swimmer’s legs. Sitting on the patio with steak and whiskey, or on my back porch on Martin Avenue while it rained that Easter, the first Easter I ever spent away from family. We ate cheesecake, your legs bent under your chair, heels up. 

Your legs were slenderer and taller than the average man’s legs. The pale flesh swathed in thick dark hair; the hole in your thigh from when a kickstand went through it when you were a kid and your friend’s big sister had to put a tampon to it to stop the bleeding. All of you is tall. We could never fuck standing up. I would sit in the bed and hug your legs tightly to me and tell you how much I loved them. My palms tummed at your hollow shins like bongos. I wanted to bite the fat on your calves. How the fat spreads heartlike when you lie flat and hangs like bosoms when you raise up the leg. When we wrestled it was your legs wrapped round me I could never get out of. A wrong hug. Ankle over ankle, binding me to you.

I keep the note you wrote to me after you touched me in the folder where all my tax documents go; we still dated for a long time after that. After we broke up you told me over darts and vodka that I had been a ball of rage the whole time we were together. When we went to bed that night you told me I want your mouth, I want your mouth with intrepidness you hadn’t shown before to me: you could never find a balance between asking too much and not asking at all, and in the end those are really the same thing.

But I don’t care so much about that now. You’re not mine now. My hands on either of your knees and my tongue on your stomach—I missed you, I threaded into the air. My hands folding under your thighs. My body misses your body; this is all. I will feel nothing. This is all.

 

image: Laura Gill


SHARE