Gracious

… This name that was mine from the beginning.

In every beginning an ending is written.

It is one of the very first things I told you. When I would lie naked in your arms, spinning my stories. The mind of a poet, and the body of a goddess, you once said against my chest – and I wrapped this description like a gift. It was rare for you to be so gracious with your definitions, Mack.

Mack.

I did not know that it would end like this.

Mack and Mabel lyrics by Jerry Herman

(It was so easy to name you. I knew him. And then I met you. The recognition was instant.

And you never, ever did send me roses. Just like I forgot to keep my head.)

As if I am the sun

Where did you come from?

You ask me this once, at some hotel, some time, somewhere. Frustration, and something else wrapped around the question. A glint of admiration, perhaps, for my stubbornness, for the fight I’ve just caused, and the way it wakes you up every time. Makes your breath come a little faster, quickens your blood, and suddenly you’re alert, ready. Swimming to the surface of your own skin.

An island fished up out of the sea, I answer, as you slide two fingers inside me. Eyes locked, words exhaled, and the scent of moss, and dirt, and opening flowers as I arch toward your hand.

Everything is wild there, I say, as you turn my skin to a river.

Argument forgotten, won, when you place your fingers in my mouth, and I bite.

You laugh, and say – Apparently. Our eyes still locked – yours the colour of black sand, silver-flecked and shimmering, as if I am the sun.

Your eyes, I say, remind me of home. You would like it where I come from.

I like it here, you say, fingers traveling back down.

Leaving your safe harbour for a night, or an hour, exploring my body, and my stories, taking a queer kind of energy from this un-shared, uncivilised history. Before you return to that harbour, and its polite, still waters. To the place you came from, Mack.

An island fished up out of the sea. A silly answer at the time, details from a childhood story I barely recalled. Yet something of this myth sits with me, still. The idea of landscape retrieved. Or found. Bodies and stories, and memories breaking through.

Everything is wild there.

Even the prettiest flowers, you said, later in the night. And that glint of something else was back. A glittering desire for my wildness, when your own was set too deep in your bones. Calcified and covered over, ancient and forgotten – with mine right here, brand new.

I tried, of course, to bring yours to the surface. Nights like that.

Nights like this, I’m remembering. When your eyes looked like black sand, and I was the sun.

Wondering, now, if you might have understood something better than me, Mack. Wondering if the things you cannot keep might be better left, deep down.

Landscape at body, remember