You say you don’t like me, but then we meet in the forest while my parents drink themselves dizzy. Even in winter, with the wetness of the pines & our breaths blurring the air’s edges, you scamper over the gravestones to find me where no one else knows to look: in the crotch of a tree, wet with rain, waiting for you, your gaze a hungry lion’s. Beside us, the river sparkles silver & the wheat fields blow in the breeze.


You say you don’t like me, but soon you’re inhaling my sealike scent, half-humming a song we both love, the breeze and birdcall around us making music week after week. You watch my hair curl in the rain, tuck a strand behind my ear, wipe droplets from flushed cheeks. Your teeth scrape my shoulder. You pick daisies from the grass, weave them into our hair, into the collar of my shirt, white clinging wet to my skin.


Weeks pass. You say you like me, that you want to be the land or the Dead Sea, want to hold all of me. Like me, you want to rub our bodies together until we make some sort of fire. Forget fear, you say. Let’s do this, push hard against these gusty winds, this half-hurricane. Let’s do what we want: grasp hands, run our lips over freckled cheeks, mosey toward a day that’s brighter—run.

Despy Boutris
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