Memory and Other Sharp Things

I and my hands have fingers on the mountain-ridge
                              creases of the note you slipped into my palm the soft graze of
                              smooth paper
          and warm, calloused skin         the   gentle   curve   of   black   ink   kept   like
foxgloves
                    and   other   dangerous   flowers   pressed   between   the   pages   of   a
                    geometry textbook
          that details how shapes fit together
congruent                     much like how your hand rests on the curve of my hip
                    or the curl of ivy around our wrists with your back to the brick of the
          science block
wearing holes in your sweater with ladybirds resting on the shoulder of your blazer
                    under the hum of the cicadas a fist meets a face
          and all of a sudden teenage angst is a spectator sport         all   of   a
sudden violence is just another word for love
                    but this is not the only cruelty on the playing field           with   your
          hand on the buttons of my shirt                           it is not the only place where
          flesh is meeting flesh
                                                            the dust choking the summer air orange
                                                                                                    against
                                                                                                    aquamarine
dotted red with blood like a morse code message only the dirt will ever read
          suspended in the syrup-thick summer air i still taste on your lips
and the hint of gasoline on your tongue           the dark blur of oil on your cheek
from jump-starting your car by the side of the road
          knuckles scraped raw from the cut of a cheekbone
          or palms against stones
                                        something dark just below the skin’s surface
bell ringing like shockwaves in our heads                     your breath warm on my neck
                    thigh between mine in the shadow of the bleachers
                                        or the fluorescence of a bathroom stall
          sun bright     sun casting a thousand shadows           sun  making  your  skin
and mine burnished bronze
          statuesque            shoulder to ankle                            your  body  touching  mine  in
the bed of my father’s truck                     under the moon           above the stars
                                                                                                    the  sky  a  fading  bruise  the
                                                                                          same purple as the touch of your lips
                                                                                          in the crook of my elbow
bottle of jack empty by my knee
                                        your right hand still cold from the bottle of absinthe
                              your throat still burning
          my hummingbird pulse
                                                            heart shaking in my chest with you shining over
                                                  me like the sun

a stray lock of black hair
                              feathering against my eyelashes the whites of your eyes
                    your white teeth
                    the taste of iron on your tongue                               and   the   steel   of   a
          wrench by my splayed out arms
lying here like i’ve been waiting for you to kill me
                              another note pressed into the crease of my locker
                                        a white triangle
                                                            like your words have been waiting for me to
                                                  read them
          the papercut a sweet ache       roses blooming in the desert
                    staring out of the window           chair rocked back on two legs
                              a steady flick of worn paperbacks changing stories
                                       and the june-july-august crackle of static in the air
                                                                      the slide of markers over the board
clouds forming shapes that say something about the lines of your jaw
                              and the red stain of the berries you crushed in your palm
                                        in the backseat of your car after class           we will open our
                                        mouths
                    we will learn how to breathe we will pour fountain-filled
          bottles of water over our heads
                                        like we forgot how
                                                                         it feels to
                                                                                     drown


ELIEL "ELI" VERA is a writer/poet/historian who has contributed to several collaborative works, has been published in The Rising Phoenix Review and has been formally recognized for creative and critical analyses of art. Originally from West Africa, but currently living in coastal England, he has an obsession with cookie dough ice cream and traveling the world.