Perihelion: An Online Journal of Poetry and Mayhem
The Santa Cruz Issue




I’m on my back again
four willful limbs in the air
wheeze and gurgle from my chest--
compliance or complaint.
My voice an excuse for touch,
cradle the spot behind my heavy head
breathe heat and wet on my neck.

I squeal louder
touch turns insistent
her clammy palms
under my ribs
flatten into me.

I squirm, her grip tightens,
we can’t squander
any more time.
“Won’t you leave me alone,”
I wish I could say, or really
what I mean is, “Don’t touch me.
Stay close.”

A wail moves through
my epiglottis, spills out
around the tongue.

Her lips hide her teeth, pucker in fear
eyes swell under fierce lids
fingers dig deep beneath me.
My lungs whisper
“How will we do this?”
She turns her ears
strains to hear.