by Avery Malone

What could we hope to accomplish
out on the sun-baked grass,
smoke curling up around us like
spirits escaping our throats,
heads warm and absent,
your mind an unknowable lake
into which I feared to step?

And yet when your face
became an invitation
I moved with such purpose I surprised
myself toward the coffee-drop contrast
of your nipples and breasts and slender
arms lying like sleeping snakes in the grass
and the downward
slope of your belly.

I was your vessel to this place in
the birdsong-quiet forest, away
from his abrasive voice that rubbed
splinters into you with every song.
Sometimes when I think of you,
I picture you still in that forest,
lying in the grass outside of space,
the dappled absences of leaves
shifting across your face, serene,
the smoke in tendrils moving in
impossible patterns as you lie still.

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