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Dear Lover

Dear Lover

Dear Lover,

You don’t know me but one day I’ll be curled into the sweep of your arm, laying my face on the moist part of your skin where you’re still damp with sweat and the light will be glistening in the place of your nakedness and it will be electrified with a thick bright glow of sunlight reflecting where my wetness is still on yours. The light is one I’ll only see when you exhale, my eyes fixed downwards on your feet. Beginning with the length of you I will learn to know your shapes. It will be the artist’s golden hour and well past lunch. We’ll order room service and not care whether it comes.

I’ll trace swirls into the hair on your chest and on your arms and ask you questions that no one else can ask—questions that come with a security pass, things I couldn’t have asked in the hours before. You’ll answer to the back of my head, breathing the words through my tangled hair and bed-white shoulders. You’ll make your patterns on my body, too, follow the scratches, the freckles. The scar beneath my lip. I will tell you there is one too at the knee—I have never been a runner. There are matching marks at the bridge of the foot and one on my wrist. Your fingers will learn them. They will circle back and there your hand will fall on my hip, palm solidly molded around the bone. I’ll ask how you came into your name and what your past has meant. You’ll answer in the same voice your father answered in, and his father, the generations before him. The whisper will be deep, a voice that says Trust me, says Open to me, Let me in. It is as strong as it is soft. The tone unfolds.

One article of clothing will lie at the foot of the bed or on the floor, soft and cotton, mine. The shoe upended and unlaced is yours. The belt. You will tell me about your mother and your father. You will count the tally of your cousins and your childhood homes. My lips will count them from your fingers. There is an aunt or a grandmother and she shaped you. You will say the way these qualities have made you. You will think of things you haven’t remembered in years. The time you struggled in grade school. Your neighborhood crush and your old dead dog. Your sister and her existential problems and the things you don’t get about her and how could two people who came from one place be so different? You will tell me about girls you’ve loved and the ones you haven’t and the things they’ve done to hurt you. How you’ve hurt them. How you are human. I’ll memorize your fingertips. I’ll tell you my fingernails come from my mother came from my grandmother came from my great-grandmother and we were all at once sitting in a room and the thing that linked us was our fingernails, the shape and the lines. The halting moon. I will tell you about my sister, too—how I am linked to her.  How I am from a family of women—a long line of daughters and I will one day have a daughter, too. How I don’t know her but I know how I will hold her. Children! The day comes that you set them down and don’t pick them back up. Lovers, too. I’ll say the worst you can do is hold your lover as if it won’t end. You’ll press your palm deeper into my hip and pull me in.

You don’t know me, but one day your whole body will fit perfectly around mine. My head will rest under your chin and my toes will curl between yours and when I arch my back I’ll expect you to reach straight in. I’ll need you to be ready. I’ll need you to be ready to jump up and meet me, to catch me, to hold me up. To know that I can fall. I’ll need you to be ready to lay down your weight on me as well. To fall with me. I’ll need the tone you carry in a whisper.

I’ll speak in the same tone, the whisper of lovers too raw still for the world outside. I will tiptoe with you behind the door. I will keep the lamplight yellow and your secrets. You don’t know me—dear lover—but this is what we came for. This is how we are human. It is the same pursuit of our ancestors, this fervent drive to curl into the sheets with our prizes and our darkness and our questions and hopes and fears, this drive to close in softly, to part our lips with open eyes and ask the similarly naked soul beside us for warmth.


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