HEAT OFF THE BODY OF THE PREY by COLBY MCADAMS

The stars are serrated teeth that I wear as a necklace
collected from all the nights that almost ate me
as Cate is leaning backwards on the wooden railing
calculated so her collarbone jutting into the night
is a drawn arrow quivering in position.

He is too high to ever notice but that’s not
anyone’s fault or maybe I am
sitting on his lap because we are both drinking beers
and I am only able to love in the aftermath
of a certain regret

I spin apologies beneath the humming flood lights
as we lay on our backs on the basketball court outside the apartments
I identify only with destinations now, fast forward through the movement.
I am trying to find a new way to tell her
I tangled with him because of the moon or the stars
But the sky is as overcast and oblivious as I felt that night so
instead I wonder at what age will my body stop craving warm pavement
at one a.m. at two a.m. in the middle of a sweaty party
but we are the same age so she wouldn’t know anyway.
I become obsessively conscious of my lungs and the air
that I am stealing or sharing,  my hands throb, I want to protect her
from something I’m just not sure what it is yet. The wine
in the bottle wanes and I lose feeling in my fingers I selfishly
think of how nice it would be to lose feeling all over and I
roll onto my stomach because I’ve figured it out

but she has fallen asleep, the humidity clots on her chin and forehead.
She looks like she is made of glass,
or floating just beneath the surface of a placid lake.
The sky is grinning like it knows something I don’t.
I’m afraid if I touch her to wake her up
She will be a callus, made tough by my palms,
proof that our bodies are building walls against each other.
Before I even had to tell her she has already begun her healing.
New tissue cradles the mouth of the wound and I feel so backwards
I imagine the sky as the floor
I imagine his Budweiser tongue, or rather I recall.
I imagine what it would be like if we didn’t gravitate towards heat like rattlesnakes,
If my body glowed red and malevolent when she looked at me. But she was still asleep
so I let her.

__

Colby McAdams is a graduate of the University of Connecticut with a degree in English and is currently pursuing her Masters at NYU. Some of her recent work has been featured in Potluck Mag, Seafoam Mag, The Rusty Toque, and The Long River Review. Her hobbies include dominating the aux cord at parties and inviting her demons to dinner with a bottle of wine. You can also find her on twitter @Coco_erin.

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