My thigh is pressed and sweating against the thigh of a girl
with small eyes set deep into her skull, semi-precious stones
embedded in an unbreakable rock. The fire makes her eyes
look as orange as her hair. She’s burning from the inside
out. The boys are burning too. One of them must have
started the fire before I came here with my friend Shelly.
She disappeared into the woods with a boy a while ago, but
I don’t remember watching her go. She was absorbed into
the air, the way embers flare and then collapse in on themselves.
One boy slides into the empty space beside me, spits
into the heat and whispers you wanna go for a walk? I know
go for a walk means you wanna fuck around and I don’t want
to fuck around with him or with any of the boys there, so I say
yes. His hand is sweating in mine, and it reminds me of a dead
eel or maybe seaweed. When this boy sits down against a tree,
I have to think before I realize I’m supposed to sit beside him.
His tongue pokes at mine and I think about the eel again,
but it’s alive this time and churning in my mouth. I try to do
what he does. If I keep swallowing the sour taste of his spit,
I’m sure I’ll learn to like it the same way I learned to like beer.
I’ve never seen the ocean, but I imagine it would be like this:
gritty and overwhelming. I don’t know what to do with my teeth
and neither does he. I imagine them splintering like brittle shells.
I imagine holding all the pieces of my teeth and of his teeth
together under my tongue. I imagine my mouth is a ridged, white
oyster that only I can open, but I wouldn’t. If my mouth were
an oyster full of teeth, I would keep it closed for a long time.
When I finally opened my oyster mouth, pearls would spill out.