Because the fever hasn’t let up.
And I used to mesmerize myself by the way you walked, the pendulum of feet pattering one after the other, the sway of the hips and your laugh exploding from the crackled timber of your tongue. You used to simmer in the kitchen, lock your fingers together, push your glasses farther up your nose, lift your hips to the counter and dangle your legs like little wind chimes, and I opened my mouth and blew breezes at you just to hear your ankles jingle. Remember the time I watched you in the mirror and mimicked the way you spread your lips apart and tongued the air, and we almost kissed like that, but there was a void between the gums? Remember the smoke and the bread crusts flicked down over the fire? Remember the ineffable heat and how the sweat that poured down our noses formed puddles where our scents welded together? It was the first time we touched.
The last time we walked together, there was a violent presence in the air—in the squeak of your chair wheels, the cold concrete, the grimace on your face where the pain filtered through the fleshy layers of your mask. In wanting to feel closer, I bent down and mimicked your open lips, growled with you, said I, too, knew pain because it was in you.
But you shook your head—
I wish I was your body, so I could once again comfort you, crochet your skin anew, take ruined palms and sand them soft, take breasts and massage the pulp from them, take your pain and squeeze it from your flesh, wring you out and run your fever dry.
I wish I was your body so I too could feel the shatter you felt, so my empathy was not just another churlish phantasm of our love.
You left residue all over my body and it is hot to the touch—
the heavy parts of love.
Mira Glasser is an artist, writer, and bookseller living in Portland, Oregon. She is studying at Lewis & Clark College, where she won the 2019 Dorothy Berkson Gender Studies Writing Award. She has been a featured reader at Survival of the Feminist and Grief Rites Readers Series, and has a stack of unpublished chapbooks in her fridge, where they stay good and fresh.