By Alison Stine

All winter we sat blind, I next to the girl who loved her scabs, the blood shields her head gave up, her face a sun of blank amazement. She drew. This means love: a circle with a line through it. More work: a cross. More crosses. Ice sloughed through fields. Ice river, the pages of our notebooks. Outside: limbs and roads and wires. Outside cracked with force and turning. Our poems filled with salt. He took me to his bed. The writer never speaks. The writer speaks in details, the sateen lining of my coat, the star point of tongue kissing. The winter speaks in the whip. Runoff nixed with ash. I spilt water on my notebook. Words went back to ink; paper back to ruffle, pulp. You smell like dog, the girl said. You will be left like the winter. Little sputter in the car’s craw. Little crevice in the pavement. Ice reminder. He took me to his bed, saying: Ali, Ali, tell no one. I told the girl, a sore gathering, another skin to pick and worry.

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