Title by Richard Siken. Written the night of, posted late due to lack of internet.
You bring in the summer solstice in style without even trying.
Every time you go into the middle of the woods and your lovers make you shout, you leave another piece of yourself in the bark of the trees. When you're shaking and cold and exhausted, and the girl with the waterfall laugh is screaming and you don't know why, you feel like you are a superhero and then like you're an earthquake. You shake like cottonwood leaves without the shimmer to redeem you and the boy with the lakefront smile sits with you as you cry and cry and cry. He tells you to sleep and you tell him no. He tells you to sleep and suddenly you are burrowed against his chest, drifting in an out. I'm sorry, you try to tell him every time you break the surface of awake-asleep-awake. I'm sorry.
Shh, he says. You're okay. Sleep. Maybe I'll sleep, too.
You are sleeping in fits and starts, sitting up and hiding in his heat. When the sun is finally up and the trees don't look like Disney villains anymore, he brings you back to bed, such as it is. You curl close to him and revel in the scent of his skin. His arms around you feel much like home, and you wonder if it's because your roots and his have grown I the same place. You wonder if they are tangling. You wonder what that means.
In the morning, the man with the ember heart leaves before the rest of you are awake. You wake up just long enough to feel a pang of wishful thinking. You want him to stay, to touch him in the early morning light, to watch the sparks in his wide green eyes. You mutter a sleepy goodmorninggoodbye and move closer to the boy with the lakefront smile.
You all wake up later than planned, and you fuck the boy with the lakefront smile as the girl with the waterfall laugh has another cigarette. There are moments as he fills you that his face lights up and you think again, as you always do when confronted with his smile, of bright golden sunlight; of midsummer breeze; of a perfect moment cast in glass, a cottonwood puff caught in resin.
You wonder what he thinks of when he looks at you. You wonder if it matters. You wonder why everything needs to matter or to not, but no answer comes to you.
Later, when you find out you are bleeding, you are not surprised. They have entered you and something has shifted, as it always does. As you slept against old logs and cold dirt and the boy with the lakefront smile's chest, something broke, just like it always does. Your blood does not surprise you.
You have been hemorrhaging emotions for years.