The surface of your skin is a landmass unlike mine.
The little pieces of skin lifted up on your lips
in exchange for the little lines on mine.
Tall, thinning out trails of smoke like stretch marks
the scar tissue blanch like bone visible to me.
I remember how your eyes looked at them
then you looked me deep in the face.
Can I exchange my open wound of a mouth
for a close encounter with them?
Something small in our silence to remember.
The heat of your heart crawls around my landmass.
It’s quiet tone of violin plucking, the movement and melody,
the moment and memory.
Whether its patience the heart wanders through
or comfort it looks to
I looked for
and locked my heart with you.
Your half crescent moon glowing
go ahead I’m the only one around
Cigarette smoke getting caught in the stains, the threads
of an oversized sweater
and the smell stale in the cuff and around your wrists
and finger tips.
It’s staying put against the wind here in grassy Amherst.
There isn’t a kid in this park. Even youth can escape
this timeless place.
And you’ll leave your scent like a name etched by fingernails
into this rotted wood.
I know it so well, the code you’ve tapped under my skin.
Or the pieces of skin you’ve plucked like a rose bud
around your fingernail.
The air never felt so sharp and direct
to the cells, cells, cells
now moved from their highest point.
The scent of a body densely lit by sweat
has taken a liking to mine
to me, when I’m not using my eyes.
Lexi Halaby is a poet from Massachusetts.