he taught her how to
count the syllables of their
heartbeats in the spaces
between her eyelashes
when they fluttered down
and graced a part of him
other than his neck,
like a swan's (but not virgin white)
she found him by a stream
of liquor and held his hand in
hers, brought him from the coast
and to a place where no one
one really visited anymore.

it might've happened in a gas station
bathroom off a strip of desert east of no west
to be seen for miles
or a bed in a motel room, minus
the mattress because there were
too many stains and misdialed phone
numbers on the walls the old man
at the front desk had tried to scrap off.

he looked like joe dimaggio under
the lights, marilyn's blurry haze, barely-there
dream and she liked to listen to noise of their
clothes hitting the ground because it muted the
blood pounding in her ears and the gasps coming
from her mouth (and it was bittersweet and tragic
and later, after he left and she didn't, she couldn't
remember if it hurt or if it even mattered.)