an affair with books

She handed me a book and asked me to read it to her/ It had the color blue melted into it like an improperly hidden secret/ I read until I lost speech due to lost spit due to lost air/ swallowed before and after every word.


My thirteenth lover refused to read anything outside of cereal boxes or street signs. We would make love in silence, moving only one-third of our bones. When she kissed me, I alphabetized my book collection in my head. Reread Baudelaire and Cesaire while she flapped her tongue against mine like a drowning victim.

She had no idea I was cheating on her with the volumes of books inside my imagination. She had no idea that the small moans exiting my mouth were for Sexton and Rumi and Giovanni and Baldwin.

One day, I slipped a poem beneath her pillow, cut up from a book I found on a stoop during a walk without her one Spring.

She barely noticed it, except that when she woke, she did mention an infiltration of noise in her sleep.

Usually, she dreamed in mute and beige.

Soon after, we broke up due to the fact that kissing can only last so long before one aches for an index and bibliography. I left her for a writer who drank shots of ink and licked me with stained tongue. We wrote novels with our bodies. We made love on abandoned train tracks and defrosted the language of seventeen poets onto each other’s skin.

It only lasted a summer. Until I met a novelist. With a vocabulary stretching past seventy-three states.


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