I

he could see her within the swell, pulsing with the crowd, arms raised and meeting his tune- she was only for him, beating eyes into his, her long hair askew. she swayed with the flux of his mouth, crashed into girls beside her and laughed like diamonds.

black lights drenched her face in lovely shadows, and she was so thin and wavering, androgyny caught in the contours of her jaw. when he stepped off stage, he knew he had her-

caught her waist and she breathed, "Uriah," like she'd been waiting to meet him.


II

camille, she didn't know things: how to light a fire beneath a spoon, make a needle fulfillment, how to take her shorts off without thinking, make her legs her murmur. she wore a skirt with nothing beneath it, let her sandals kick carpet while she ran along sidewalks-

had he known a better girl? one that he wanted to ruin so much as her. he held her pale face and told her, stay, because she listened to him like he was a God.

and he was the God of her world, swept her from illinois to Harlem, took that pretty-bruise from foster care and whispered, stay.


III

"we'd make a beautiful son," she said once or maybe he thought it; he puts his words in her throat, and she spit them up like bile.


IV

her fingers clawed his palm, screaming Uriah, Uriah. like he was supposed to help her, alleviate some pain he couldn't comprehend. in fluorescent light, she looked like a boy- her belly swollen and legs so thin, she still looked like a boy. straight brow, stick arms, face screwed in agony-

and she looked like a boy.


V

boon-me looked like her, even so small, and he didn't think to miss her. just cried for warmth in the night, suckled Uriah's fingers and groaned-


VI

she pulled forward, took voices and grasped straws, searched and asked for names of men she used to know- and there was no Uriah, no sobbing son. just the beat of diamonds in a crowd, resonating in her core, staring at an empty stage.