Back when your mouth was still a mouth
we would get sick off empty packets of sugar
& let the grains dissolve into illness on our tongues—
this was before the midnight telephone hooks,
the house gone small with your withering. Feral
cats started circling our back doors, trying to sneak in
so we newspapered the windows to keep something
we didn’t know out, your bandages like small
butterfly wings in the dark. This was before I met a girl
in a car at night & her car was filled with sugar wrappers—
old dried up candies glinting like minnows in the dark
ocean of her backseat. After we walked through a corn field
& she said I just wanted to be holy/I didn’t want to be
this way/wrong
, she wrote each psalm on her thigh with Sharpie:
An abomination/thou shall not lay shall not lay with your same,
the slick of the corn field’s skeins crunching under
our feet like small bodies. I etched her name
into my arm with her keys & pretended I didn’t. After
you left, I stopped eating sugar & started drinking
salt mixed with tepid water, filled the house
with old stale pastries and let the frosting rot & mold.

By Brynne Rebele-Henry