No Other Appetite

Jess Smith

The first time it was nightlight, lambent bloom,

the color of a bell. What sound is the shadow

of a man moving behind me? Not click, not

clap, something closer to applause but less

intact. The champagne I drink is a kind of chaos,

boiling cold in the mouth, prelude to oceanblue

blackout. I like life hot and quick, I like to blink

and miss it. His carnivore gaze, those lawless

canine irises (need I even say it?) should have been

red flags. But the tint of my life had brightened

to fluorescence, that wild cast of obliteration.

Morning and twilight burned the same white, both

of us gone feral and sunblind. The last time

it was whirling siren, bloodbath spun with sapphire.

My cobalt face, my blasted alabaster, my ghastly

human scraps. What color is the tongue

of a mother licking back to life her long-dead

cub? Indigo drips of ink spidering a hot glass

of water, surprise vermillion staining the back

of a young girl’s newest dress. Nothing is enough

if you know how much you could have had.

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