CLOSER THAN FLESH

You’re tethered to every part of me, 

invisible umbilical cord. I can’t get rid of you. 

I brush my teeth at noon and you’re there, too—

laughing through toothpaste foam and hogging the sink

like it’s all yours, only yours. I trudge home under the glow 

of our flickering street lights and remember arguing with you

about something you’d said earlier that I misinterpreted,

took your joke as a knife in the side rather than what

it really was— an attempt to carry some color to my face.

You’re a phantom limb. You’re the other end 

of the rope and I’m the pathetic tug-of-war loser.

I rest under our tree sometimes and am transported

backwards, to the midnight I first touched you. 

You’re flushed and you’re timid and you paint me 

like an artist. A cheek, then a collarbone, 

then suddenly you’re closer than flesh

and I’m all yours, only yours.

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