I took up Latin because it was a dead language. It reminded me so much of us; it was the start of everything, yet no one really noticed when it faded away.

I used to write you poems in Latin. I thought I was in love then. You'd laugh in streams of gravel, and your cigarette smoke would circle your head like a dark halo, glazing your eyes. Then you'd fold the paper and hold it over your lighter until it crumpled.

"It's love on fire, kitten," you'd say. "We'll set the world on fire someday." And I'd believe you. I always believed you.

You had glass eyes, perfect blue and faraway. I'd shiver when you touched me. Hands made of dry ice and sheet metal fingers. When we kissed, I was constantly getting scratched on peircings cut into lethal shapes. Sometimes there was blood. I'm still not sure if you meant to bite.

When we broke up, I started smoking your brand of cigarettes. They tasted a little like you. I remembered the pictures I'd seen on you before, done in rust red with a pin. I tried to copy the wing on my wrist, but I chickened out.

I don't remember much about what we said now. The only things I have peirced are my ears. I bit my husband once when we kissed, just to see how it would taste, and he yelled at me. I didn't like it anyway.

Last week my daughter told me that she's thinking about marrying her boyfriend when she turns eighteen. He has a motorcycle, and she says he makes her feel alive, but her eyes look dead when she talks about him. She says they're going to set the world on fire someday.

Also, she wants to switch her language classes. Spanish, she says, just isn't as romantic as Latin.