AUGUST 10, Paris:

In the morning, I find you there, next to me. I toggle between rage and relief.

I rise silently, dress and tip-toe out in search of breakfast and composure.

You are still in bed as I bring croissants from the street.

Me, squeezing a big toe: Hey, breakfast!

You, stretching, sitting up: Hey.

You take a croissant, pull at its edges. Its outer shell cracks and shatters. Steam rises from the dough beneath.

Me, arraying yesterday’s postcards on the quilt: And something for your visual appetite.

You don’t speak, stare at the cards.

I pull away your plate and tug at the bottom seams of the t-shirt—my t-shirt—that you’re wearing.

You bring your arms up, recline.

Me, proffering the image of Salome covered in jewels: Hold the postcard.

Me, searching for the mascara in your bag then unscrewing the cap: Hold still.

I draw a blooming orchid between your breasts and array the eyes of wisdom across your ribs.

I circle your belly button with a jewel, two birds of prey above. I look to your face. You watch me working in the mirror.

I move to your collar and add a row of pearls. At the base of your neck, a final pair of cobras face each other, hoods open prepared to strike.

Me, pushing back, admiring: Let me find some music.

A portable turntable sits in the corner of the room. I flip through LPs, come up with The Doors.

Me, bringing the needle to the record: These guys sound better alive than they smell dead.

You remain silent.

Me, speaking to you in the mirror: Dance for me. Be my Salome.

You, rising from the bed and spinning once: What are you going to give me?  The head of John the Baptist?
Me, relieved you’re here, relieved to hear you speak a full sentence: Whatever your wish.

You, spinning again, then reaching toward me: Come dance with me, I don’t know what I want to wish for yet.

I twist the volume UP and circle you in a half crouch as the bass and guitar join the drums. You spin and spin.

Jim Morrison bellows “Break on through to the other side.” I attack.

My hands entangled in your hair. Our mouths in fury, biting, tearing.

You rip at my shirt. Buttons ping and skitter across the floor.
Mascara slathers our bodies.

Your jeweled forms now blotched, unrecognizable beyond the top bloom of the orchid sheltered between your breasts.

I pull you onto the table. We find our pace, loving, hurting.

Our fuck is a rhythmic violence that goes until the needle skips at the end of the record.

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