Writing by Cristina Rizzo. Artwork by Paola Valentina.
Santo Stefano in August
Ma quanti bagni hai fatto?
The boy’s happy –
a casual joy.
His feet sound splattered on the sand.
Ha perso un dente!
The wind’s picked up now.
Before the heat was a chokehold,
a lover on my arms.
And I think about lovers and teeth:
the poking edge of a baby tooth,
its milky emptiness,
the gum when the tooth is gone,
the gum all soft and curved.
And I remember these things like I remember
when tongues touched teeth
and fought and sucked and played –
hungry children on rocks.
When his shirt was open and I touched dry skin.
When he touched mine and it was wet.
When teeth gave way to tongues
and I tugged at your hair, interested.
You held me close, eyes closed, panting.
There's something about washing plates
With honeysuckle FAIRY
After having Emma over
And making green curry with her.
And talking about rape
And talking about the girl she knows
And her friend, Lily.
There's something about stacking the dishwasher
With grease hands
And feeling like your mother.
And knowing you're seeing Tom tomorrow
And you're going to fall asleep next to the same skin for a
And knowing you're going to get up in eight hours.
And opening the fridge to see the avocado, cold on the bottom shelf
And knowing you have something for breakfast.
And lying on the sofa feeling full.
And thinking of what she would say about that cheesecake slice.
About my hands sticky with soap while typing this
But I'm too tired to think of it now.
When you first stayed over
I wake up to your pores
My lips stick white to my teeth
I close my mouth shut
So you can't smell it.
My shirt's too big for me
It's off my shoulder
and makes me feel all naked.
My left eye waters onto your pillow.
I wipe it off, hoping it's not mascara,
Hoping it's not last night on white.
I'm dry and wet and open
All in front of you.
And you lie, eyes closed,
Your mouth open like a baby.
Your eyebrows curled like you're confused
And then your shirt hangs at your neck
And sweat runs to the unpatterned hair on your chest.
And the blanket off your hip,
Your arm left soft on top of it
So it looks like butcher's meat.
Your pores, again,
Except, now, they're bigger.
Hangs in chunks and strands,
Awkward like a cartoon.