I found him buried in a planter
growing from the dirt like a vine.
I just wanted to let you know,
he said, I just wanted to let you know
that if I hadn’t been so self-loathing
I would have kissed you.
He smiles, staring until I step
closer, give him a chance
to put his lips on mine.
I can’t even taste him
but my cheeks bloom.
The next night
he’s sober, he’s dancing, he’s a tremor,
a 3.4 on the Richter scale.
His jaw juts as he bites his lower lip
and when he looks at me
I am a sock left to dry on the edge of the bath,
a cornhusk puckering under
hot tight sky.
After wine, he puts arms around me
pushes his head to my chest.
Later, he smashes grapes with bared toes.
Juice pools on the sidewalk,
stains my cheeks.
—Stella Cabot-Wilson, Gallatin sophomore