An Anatomy of Romance

By | 15 February 2023

Tomorrow I will learn that my body is romantic.
Romantic as in rounded, buxom; romantic as in
assumed to billow. Like Rose, lounging gingerly
in her stateroom, tousled curls lolling on open
shoulders. Like Rose, holding her lover’s gaze
much like a young girl holds a nectarine newly
ripened: tenderly; a question of hunger.

Tomorrow, when I carry my romantic body
to the water — which is to say, when I draw
her a bath — I will rub peppermint oil into her
aching wrists, at which she will sigh the slowing
pulse of a sigh, this sliver of breath an invitation
to press harder: a call to tenderise. Now stop.

Tomorrow, I will romance my body. But today,
under the three p.m. sun, I let her blister.
I click her dimpled knees as I lower us down
to lounge. When somebody asks how she is,
I will tell them she is doing well, as she quietly
unties her muscles’ mess of knots. In the evening,
with thumbs tucked underneath spaghetti straps
I will spell words out on the small of her back,
secrets kept by the curve of her spine.

Tomorrow, as she blinks her eyes into the black
of the bathroom, a single candle tacked to the
sink, the shadows lapping at the plaster will look
like a dozen running horses, and in the shadow of
a stallion, she will spill her own secrets, folding them
into the bathroom walls, and watching
as they’re taken away.

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