August,

Your hands are cutlasses, perfect hook on metal line to sink her, I. I know your fists. Brass, cherryrosetomatoredsummersun hot, eager to collect my debts as your Beelzebub body overtakes drylands and turns ground to mud and leaf. Your skin, sabretoothed, your teeth, metal wire. Easier for chomping down on the quintessence of a girl. Your eyes are many and none. None evil. None of them safe. I don't know your head, the negative space I live in. Why you're a beast, a legless object floating after me, inspiration of Azrael, speedily, pointedly, to take away my little death and big ones. I know your body, I've lived through hotcool. Never so cruel. Your mind, forcing me to break my heart and kiss the only love I know goodbye.

You cling morbidly to the idea that I'll cheat on the ones I've given myself to. I fight you on it, recite in ceremony they are mine, they are mine, they are mine, I am theirs, I am theirs... A virtuous grin, your hand on my throat applying pressure the weight of mid-July. Lean in. Whisper. I shouldn't waste my time in protest. You have my clock, his limbs, you are throwing them away. And all I can do is watch.

Adam

The day we met, you hated me. I ate it up ferociously, half annoyed, a quarter understanding, an eighth behooved to change it. The rest knew I'd rope you in.

Ziplining, looking down, unstable. Asking someone to push me, how long until I hit the ground? And you yell, Big Fake Brutal, to jump. We scream. At each other. We've never gotten along. I don't mind. Because your hair is crisp. Because you fence. Because you're a stranger.

Strange that I barely know you, stranger sleeping in my backyard. Who I keep inviting back. Where are you? I wonder if you've thrown away my letter, if the painting I made for you looks good in a storage unit, if you understand how hard it was to see you for the last time.

You told us over Ramen that it was our last day, turned the light to dimmer betrayal. Minutes surrounded a table of soiled noodles, dirty napkins, blood boiling, tempering. Was it raining? How long would it take to climb to the moon? How would Erin's hair look blue? Are you here? We hugged, you said you'd visit, I gagged. You were the first of few and many. I miss you, Quiet.

I cannot hold you. That is a tease. You hold, see, touch me through lovers' hands. Unromantic, you don't love me. You don't realize that a lover and romance are not exclusively devices for paramours, but engines for sicklysweet loves. Honey, corn syrup, agave, for company. You're stealing my beating. A lover that cannot be replaced by a toy. Blood. You jolt me. Lean in. Cry. All I can do is hold out my arms.

Xenia

Blood is thicker than water, time heals all wounds, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, boldest are the oldest and run forest run and the first rule about fight club is we don't talk about it. How thick are the weeds that grow in a backyard we had in another life, we live together, felt like we had homes? I'm sure simple is soothing, inhaling helium for money candy without calories. This isn't the point but imagine.

With you, I'm positive. You're unafraid and ground me more than I can you. I like your dimples, that you don't like eggs but eat omelettes, that you like pancakes plain. I love you for saying you'd come to my wedding if I married a woman. It's not blood is thicker than water, you need both to live. It's that you're my tether. I know if the world crumbles or expands you will be there planting flowers in overgrown gardens and picking them to put in my hair. This goodbye is for now, I feel guilty for leaving. It's hard to believe straight from the horse's mouth when the horse ran full speed away and threw you on the floor.

You, tearful, I, smiling, made our relationship seem like Milgram patients and power. We walked outside, you limping on a leg that wasn't hurt, arms wrapped tightly around a leg that you were trying to prevent from walking away. She cannot stay. One last kiss on the face of a garden girl, weary.

A gameplayer, sorewinner, I wouldn't spit at the unkind. A pulse, chew it up gamey. Steal the chips on the poker table, the holster of your gun pointed at the chests of the people that surround you. All with my face. Jaw clenched, mouth wrinkled, nose leaking. Watching you thieve and take hostage. Lonely? Bitter one? Forcing me to live inside your breath? For connection. In your grip, I can't remember who I was or wanted to be. You remind me I am deeply tethered. To a face, brown eyes. Who regurgitates who I am into my mouth. I swallow, you threaten to fire. I choke on the saltwater that rivers from a last touch into my mouth and screams. Lean in. Promise of return, cackle and shame, as you take another hand to my throat and waft the scent of bitterbyesandregret up my leaker. And all I can do is inhale.

Anthony

Knowing yourself is inane, and drives me wailing back into you Mr. WonderWallKnowItAll. What should be a concrete mode of being, not performative, you find idiotic and prepossessing. You find me under rock and lock and under the table, we met where I thought your name was Adam. It's damaging, watching you stand at the foot of a stairwell leading you out of a world we navigated together. Who am I?

I fell in love childishly, feelings hard to decipher years later. Maybe it was attachment, confusion, us laying down in the park. Love can do stupid things to a person. You held me in a room of boys in suits and girls with briefcases, because I was scared and you like the winter. We were up until 3 am for the sake of motorcycles and delving into our subconscious. Yelling at each other, I'm biting your voice box out of your neck, gauzing your mouth, kissing your forehead. We're like that, Dysfunctional.

It's blanketwarm under your arms. I'm tight into you, emotionally, gross, overplayed. Sorry for staining your t-shirt with saltywet and makeup, but it's unique decor, isn't it?

I'm not simple stupid. I know the difference between fruits and vegetables, colors and shades, tones and moods. But this, temporary love, I should've had the gall to refute and the sense to understand his welcome into my body. June - I regret him, July - I want him and August makes me want him to rip me to pieces and yell bloody imbecilic. Lean in. And cloak a disingenuous saccharine shawl around me, everything that could stay the same. And all I can do is wait.

Boy Who Likes The Rain

You aren't rain, you aren't god, even if you do finger pluck. But, there's lightning outside, and it's heavyobnoxious. Pretty Boy, pretty sky, pretty night but for that my bed and I are dry and there are no hands not to hold. Zigzagging, crashing yourself into the water enkindled holily by the shape of your veins that course hotly up your forearms and the thickness of your fingers. Blanket a moody sky with an eye-numbing crystal white, snugly wrapped around me, like the morning you woke up on my couch.

Press your fingers on my nails into my acoustic. Bite the thorns off the blue roses I got you that match your eyes. Spit them, bloody, salivating, into my mouth. Take my bottom lip between your teeth, lick it chameleon-like, tell me how I taste. Boy and Girl who like the rain, sprawled au-naturale, running our lips down each other. I'll salt your food because pepper is too spicy for your cracker-acute tastebuds like a nurturing good girl and you'll sit on the couch, watching me dance to the kissing playlist. I memorize the texture of your forehead, how it feels to kiss, my fingers tracing your boybeard, hand cupping your jaw. Do I choke you? Just to keep you? Do I let you go? To live?

We had last kisses, one first, but none between. Each other's means to an end, cherry poppers for sweet body talk, subjects for every writer's long list of lovers to write into a could-have-had-a-future-if-you-were-up-for-the-end-to-your-writing-career prose, sobbing sloppy.

Choked, pale, flushed. Not blushing like before. Outfront a timelessly decorated train stop, lips blue, you hug me tight and close, pull me ghostly in, and kiss me. Thanks.

August, bastardous melancholy, you've a kink for whipping and slapping. SIlly thing, I like it. Once, twice, move your hands, dear. I'm not steady, I can stand on one leg, but you push me over. Unprepared. Showing off like I've been there, done that, how it feels to lose and gain momentum. Just another goodbye, I'm soaked in citric liquid, sugarplum disruptions don't bother. Standing in the living room making noise because in six hours the last grip on a distant life would be skipping out bleeding. Lean in, drive a fingernail into me. The night makes my fangs grow, bite him, drink, keep him here. He leaves with miles trailing behind, and all I can do is sort photographs.

Erin

I don't know if we enjoy love triangles or love to hate them, like spray cheese or BuzzFeed quizzes. I'm the Green M&M, if you were wondering. The fun thing about triangles is that there are corners to hide in, run into when masochistic and belabored, forced out of, pitied in, where I found you. It's fascinating to watch someone fall for you, lose their minds and Google Maps a pit of despair to fall into, while walking behind not letting them know the pit is loud because knowing the pit is there won't prevent them from falling into it. Potholes, pretty girls and foreign boys can throw a rope, put a towel over your feet and let you out to dry. You recover. We are here, in the corners of a dissipating triangle, spilling our indiscretions like candy melting, hot, sticky, messy.

You've told me things. About you, us, where we'll be in ten years and thank Atheist Concept we'll be dead in 1,000 years before the sun disappears and violence is a crime but are words not violent too? You tell me who you are. I lick it up off the floor, moisturize, show you how it could all be acceptable in the world we live in if you give it a chance, but I understand. Exceptional in a mundane circle makes you Dali or Van Gogh's ear, not Bill from the corner store whose wife is beautiful but they only play bingo and you play the piano but no one likes the piano because it is a lifestyle choice and bingo is the natural way of things. I'm your sidekick, Salvador. I hope they treat you well where you're going and no one knows who you are.

There are big and small spaces. Those in between make us mad and furied. Get pissed, get out. Keep me posted, NiceGuy. Find one, one hundred, let me know they love you. Tell me you're melting the room to their skins, are loved, I love you, SappySecretive.

I hold onto you, crouched over, one of your arms around me as the door stares, claps its hands, chopchop. You tell me we will be okay, we will be okay. Simple wave, struck still, silent. Simple Wave. I know we will be okay, I know we will be okay.

You make the easy ones hard and the hard ones easier. Compensation or do you have a heart, I won't thank you, Big Bully. Leave your spare under the mat, you never should have had it. Don't touch her. Your grip weakens, you're loud, September is nearing. You want a lasting impression. Lean in. Squeeze tight my spine, let me know all will be okay in a druggeduppotbrownie daydream. I'm a good girl, so I dream real and watch her pack my things and walk me out the door. And all I can do is listen to the last lullaby.

Mom

Stack of limbs. Stack of limbs. Stack of limbs, that's all we are? Bodies? That move? And make noise, fall over? If that's right, you cannot be. Vivacious Little, makes marks and scars, humbles, pokes, says not to lose my head in checkout, train, or DMV. You tell me to get my blood checked, buy condoms. Tell me that I am bigger than you, but in a cradle. Capable, you are not a stackoflimbstackoflimbsstackoflimbs, you are constant. Remind me how to brush my teeth?

Every goodbye is a lie. I will hear your voice at inconvenient times. Doing my makeup, put on a bra! Talking to a boy, you flicking dental dams. Scared, you love me. As the lies add, how it will be once the honeymoonsummercamptrialrun phase ends and I am left to myself? My social security number? What do I put in the space that asks for a middle name? I am not scared. Of anything. Except spiders, dark, failure, being alone, silence. Unafraid of the world, watch as it dances praise in the palm of my hand.

Everything will work out, you will grow, everything will work out, stay the same, everything will work out. Find yourself on the precipice of freedom, it is your choice to take your feet off the goddamn ledge, plummet down and do it again. Thank you. For your words. For your kind ones and insufficient ones, cruel ones and those that build me. For the treasure chest I put my shoes in and the prayer tattoo on my back that keeps me grounded and I don't know where I am but I know our goodbye is not goodbye.

I cannot smell you, can't read your face. You are nothing human and nothing inhumane, a negative push in a positive direction. I don't truly believe that everything happens for a reason, at least not now. I wonder what the reason is. This summer, August, the things you've forced me to do, the parts you've made me kill. They aren't dead at all, not like my split ends.

Movement is a creeping choice no matter how you make it. It is all irrational. What is incoherently, astronomically and insert any other big word that makes this seem intelligent, befuddling, is I am going somewhere with no one to love. Plain, simple. Is it?

August, look at me. Look at me straight in the face dead-eyed, unconscious, and redredred redrum redredredred. Listen to me. Then explain. Look at the sixsixsix last kisses and look at the pretty things laced with your drugs. Norepinephrine and dopamine and I had it all in my back pocket. Love in buckets, no lid, not safe to travel with, at the front of a closet that's doors look more and more foreign but that's contents smell oldlife and still feel soft like skin, maternally. Love, she, is easy to lose in a crowded room, but I have always gone home with her, to her, sewing strips of our skin together, tying them in knots. She was an always, not perhaps. August, unentertaining, force me into goodbyes and put chains around the closet doors. Displace me. I am in a big place now, with people I don't know and no one that I love, not yet. What do I do with that?