FIRES AND FLOODS
How many times I’ve wondered
whether the mouth is a cave,
a place to find refuge from the rain,
the way I’ve always searched
for safety in someone else’s body,
finding warmth in hands
that make my body ignite.
And I like this kind of burn—
the feel of your mouth,
your bird-like fingers, never stilling,
perching on the branch
of my shoulder, knotting in the nest
of my hair. I remember the first time
your hand snaked into my pants.
My body became a lit match.
My eyes fell shut like a window
in heavy winds, mouth opening
into a silent scream,
which is to say the mouth
is more than a tongue and teeth.
It’s the low whimper falling
from a throat. But such a sound fades
fast. And if the mouth is a way in
to the body, then it’s a cave,
and what is a cave
but an incoming crisis?
We’ve all heard the stories:
the monster waiting within,
or the collapse—people stranded
inside. And, yes, I’ve confused
the sound of the ocean with the song
of someone’s breath. I know
that neither force is safe,
that there’s such a thing as drowning
in someone’s scent,
getting locked within the cave
of their mouth, too far gone
to escape without leaving
a piece of yourself behind.