We are on a picnic. By the lake you grew up near. I am wearing a summer dress, a few Hail Mary’s above my ankles, while you are getting burnt behind the knees. You are feeding me the fleshy part of a peach. The juice dribbles down my chin and melts into my neck. A bee thinks I’m nectar, buzzing over breasts like arched petals, but it is your tongue tasting honey some minutes later. In that soft crescent behind my ear.
The cicadas urge us on. The woods pulse and hum.
Your hand disappears under my skirt. My thighs part like gloves. The rolling pressure of your thumb is the fulcrum upon which my life sees and saws. You take your time. Lips full above me, the sun a halo around your head. Your eyes two magnets for an open-mouthed gaze. My neck cranes for you, but you understand that anticipation is the soul of desire. You want me to reach so long and sweet for it—for you—that when we touch, time is warped and confused. And briefly breaks up.
I bend to the winds of a thumb and cupped palm. I suck your name from the pulp on my tongue. A skirt conceals nothing from trees and ice water. I am open. Undone. Your hand is blood sunshine. Evolution feeds on me, base pairs flipping and cartwheeling and slipping new bonds.
The thumb, the palm, is not enough. I want more. I need . . .
I ask you for it.
Please . . .
Your lips are sweeter than the fruit. Your tongue tastes like my neck. Your body, moving with mine, is a leaf flowing down a river’s song.
On a Sunday afternoon.
I take you to the water.
A part of me wants to tell you that this was the place where I learned to be a man. A part of me is close to telling it. But I can’t tell you that.
Instead, we skip rocks on the water. And hunt for salamanders beneath the wet earth. We lay down our blanket, open a wicker basket, and talk about why people don’t take picnics anymore. You say it’s because they’ve forgotten how. I say it’s because people believe in irony more than sentiment anymore. Either way, we’re both feeling good, if a little superior. Which I don’t mind. Because let’s face it—we are right now.
I try to imagine what my boyhood self would think of my being here. With you. I think he’d be scared. And electrified.
I could touch you all day long. Your knees, round and brown from the summer. Your pretty ankles, uncrossing like a broken promise. The richness of your thighs. The spreading dampness on your
I am restrained because I sense you want me to be. I am not a boy any longer.
When you finally reach for me, when you finally open to me, I want to push as hard as the cicadas. I want to fill the forest with a storm. I want, I want—
Instead, I breathe your name.
I answer you.
This is another excerpt from the new novel, since that's what I'm focused on right now. I figured we could use some warmth, too, now that winter is setting in!