i.

early morning sunshine greets me

when the drapes open and i stand

teetering on the edge of the balcony.

we sleep three in a room and this

French house is home to me.

-

ii.

cobblestone streets grate under

my flip flops but i'm focused on

the wind blowing my hair

and my lips moving in this

beautiful language.

-

iii.

my skirt is too short for this country

and i'm self-conscious.

-

iv.

when i meet him we kiss on the cheek

and i wonder if the perfume

is too bold for this culture.

-

v.

he touches my arm and i shiver.

-

vi.

unlocking the door, we three girls

go back inside, leaving him to go home

before the sun goes down.

-

vii.

getting ready is a trial of propriety

and prettiness.

-

viii.

i wear my corona tanktop and

too-tight jeans, stepping onto the

balcony just as dusk descends.

-

ix.

we do makeup rushed,

eyeliner smeared in dark lines

and lip gloss shining in the

bright bathroom lights.

-

x.

the streets are emptying of the cars

and headlights blind us when we slither

down the alleyways.

-

xi.

there's one hundred steps down the hill,

from here to music blasting salvation.

i think we'll make it just in time.

-

xii.

the black doors open wide for us.

-

xiii.

the bass line rips through my chest and

i can't stop moving, even if i tried.

-

xiv.

there's a new boy grinding on the table.

i stare and he looks back. smirking, i climb up

to melt into him.

-

xv.

noone notices how close we are and his

milk chocolate skin blurs into mine.

-

xvi.

we trade names, memory, and a kiss that lasts

two Madonna songs, and something techno that

leaves me gasping for air.

-

xvii.

his hands hold me together and i can't pass out

just yet, even though my eyes are heavy with alcohol.

-

xviii.

my foot bleeds from a broken bottle

but i can't feel anything but him.

-

xix.

my head on his shoulder, we sway to the music

like the strobe lights don't exist, like this moment

could last forever.

-

xx.

i ask him for a cigarette to smoke before i leave him

to go back to my real home. because it's a pack

later, and i need to buy some more menthol nicotine.

i need an addiction that won't disappear with

my hangover tomorrow morning.

(guillome, he says his name is. guillome, i whisper

into his ear. and then i leave him to wonder.)