i walked past her

at first

 

she held a sign that said

please help

i have 4 kids

and no job

and need diapers

and food

 

and i walked past her

and wondered what size of diapers

she needed

 

i put peaches

and strawberries

and lychees

in my cart

 

and then said to my wife

“i need to buy her diapers”

and she said

“okay, i’ll be right here”

 

and when i went to find her again

she was already gone

 

she’d been asked to leave

by the staff

and she’d left

because she’s a good person

 

but i’d wanted to be too

without a job

without a car

without a work permit

 

but not without hope

 

crafting stories

purely for the pleasure of it

not for publication

 

keeps me sane

amidst the wait

for applications

for approval

for IMM0008

and all the other required paperwork

for a spousal sponsorship

 

the lack of hope

in a story

is hope

 

that those pages

beyond the bookmark

might hold a happy ending

expertly-crafted

poignant

bitter-sweet

 

so i write myself

thousands of endings

thousands of stories

 

lose myself

in synonyms

sentences

and scripts

 

so writer’s block

crushes me

surrounds me

overwhelms me

 

like a paper crane

in a fist

 

pink minced meat

sweating in the sink

quick, put it in the oven before it

starts to stink

 

let the house fill with it

seep into the walls

sink into the carpet

 

 

eat until you’re satisfied

eat until you’re numb inside

 

 

 

the strength of my own sexuality

frightens me

 

i become certain

that i’m addicted to porn

or sex

 

and then i wonder

after weighing up the evidence

 

if i was lied to

 

despite being undermined

trampled on

talked over

 

my sexuality rises

like steam

 

the heat of it

burns me

 

but it’s so malleable

and i can do so much with it

 

she was desperate

and he was warm

she smelled like woven bamboo, washed cotton and blade oil

he tasted like sweat, coffee and stubble

 

in fogwell’s gym he danced around her

like a hummingbird

just out of her reach

in fogwell’s gym she went after him

like a feline — elegantly

 

she blooms like a lotus blossom

and he has the pleasure of watching it — of feeling it, feeling her

and she has the pleasure of not having to prove herself

of sparring someone who is her equal

braid stuck to the nape of her neck

his legs melting into the mat

she says

if you told me i could fly

i might just believe you

 

she hovers over the threshold to his bedroom a week later

hand in her pocket

thumbing the braille on his business cards

the way she thumbs his dimples

 

and when he tilts his head to kiss her

she tastes like new york city rain

and he kisses her in the same way that he welcomes the rain

with violent relief and a half-finished prayer
she can’t find her grip amongst the silk sheets until the length of her spine sticks to them and won’t let go
he maps out the shape of her with his fingertips, savouring her until she cries out in frustration

 

condensation on the windowsill,

made from a collection of breaths

she watches it drip

 

while she slides back into herself
the tender parts of her made tender to the touch

tender-touch, tender-walk, tender-talk
he asks her if she’s okay

and she says

 

again