women don’t know when we are flirting with one another, we say to each other, through scarlet cheeks and bit tongues. i like the way her face reminds me of the sailor’s adage, red sky at morning, when she asks me when i first knew i was queer.
it’s hard to forget the ending, sailors take warning, when we set out for the maiden voyage. i like the way she can twist a wedding band into a noose. i let you press your knuckles with all the force of your day into the prism opening at my lower back, and feel a release.
later, gin-moon thirsty, i walk alone into town, turning the night inside out. we have grown horizontal to pavement, muscling through tiered concrete. i pluck one of us from where we force ourselves upward, run our stalk through my hands. i know us to be in the mint family by our squared, blunt edges. we are bad with labels, we say. we are either wild geranium, or we could be motherwort.
we collect decomposed rose hips to wear as garlands.
the riparian corridor is lined with the pioneer, yellow dock. an herbalist taught me to run my blade parallel to the gnarled fingers, that i could nick the sides or even slice the roots in two. she taught me to identify the foliage, that its’ preference is for rock-strewn creek beds. that the struggle needed to burrow in the earth made it good medicine.
we say we’ve never told our families, we say how could we?
even now, i stifle the flutter of fingers, begging you to take what you like; i’ll bloom in the spring.
a thousand little
splinterings and the easy
snap of a neck.
I am de-stringing yellow wax
beans. or I am dancing ecstatic
nothings at a party.
what I need
is for my cheeks to shine
gold, the river of wax running,
slated to be dammed.
what I need
is for you to hold
this egg in your palm. please
don’t drop it.
if you do, the broom is in