poetry by Madison Bockol
In June, I am not flesh but band-aid. “Mosquito bites,” my mother tells me. “Humidity laps at your frizzy hair like a fucking dog and it brings them. The mosquitos, their bites. You get so many. You’re soft, you’re sick with sweetness, it’s too easy to want.” I am not lonely enough for mosquitos but dumb enough to sit ass-down in a sundress on poison ivy. I sent you the pictures of my scratch marks, long like rivers, and in return you showed the remnants of the slug your heel squished when taking out the trash Wednesday night. They were both accidents: the slug, the ivy. You laughed when I told you. A laugh so gentle it tames the geese in July. Your shorts saved you, thank G-d, thank G-d, thank G-d I got to kiss you in that hay fever field. We slip in mud in August and watch the silkworms in September, the year a tender seed sprouting from the earth. Love can be flammable in theory. Wildfires, loose buttons, a child born feral. A tick can be grasped with a pair of tweezers and its swollen little body will burst over a Zippo. I have never felt that small and useless. We float in the lake bloodied by algae and you hold me so close I imagine we get married on the shore of your tan lines. I try to crush every ant that scrambles along the tiles of your kitchen floor in July and cup clams from the sand in August. You scratch my back on a lazy June day so hot the milk curdles in the fridge and tell me about getting stung on the ass by a yellow jacket. I imagine you crying on the shower floor years before the ivy grew. When the grass thaws this year the worms will, too. So will the slugs, the ivy. In September, we, like them, will find a home in the pitless body of a peach and drink the rain.