We are too young to know how to do this.
I’ve read a book I found in the city library.
We have acquired the vocabulary.
We sit on the edge of your bed, fasten one another’s eyes,
say the words for what we will do.
We are young but we are fearless.
We are terrified but we are brave.
Young enough to blush.
Young enough to be hard before you even touch me.
We do not hear a symphony.
We hear Paul McCartney and Wings.
We hear your brother upstairs air-popping popcorn.
I am desperate to remember the kaleidoscope of
your clothes on the floor, the way your fingertips Braille my spine.
I move into the secret space where your hair meets the back of your neck.
It smells like lilac there.
How do I know the smell of lilac?
I want to live here, run away from my angry home,
sleep in the lilac-scented shadows.
But you are impatient.
You are impatient because you are young.
With a shift of your body you urge me to explore.
My heart, young and powerful, jackhammers against my ribs.
I cannot catch up to my breath.
I taste you.
You taste like trembling.
You taste like a 9-volt battery pressed to my tongue.
I draw a line with my lips that ends at your lips.
Our ribs find their matching pairs and mesh.
I thrill to learn that each part of me fits a part of you,
that I am hard where you are soft,
that you are wet where I am dry,
that your teeth bite my lip,
that your heaving breath is cradled in my ear.
We could do this forever, we have discovered our own rhythm.
We commit it to memory, store it in the heat signature of our blood.
The temperature of our skin so perfectly matched
I can no longer feel you where we touch.
We are young, we are strong, we are invincible.
But our shattered bodies collapse nonetheless
beneath their own gravity,
into the buzzing blackness of smothering sleep.
We dream as children dream, full of wonder and longing and fear.

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