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Tomorrow we will blame these wandering hands

on the airplane tequila we slipped into our cups,

but tonight we are drunk on the living room couch

and you are so much sexier than Jerry Seinfeld.

Outside, the last traces of summer are fading

and storms brewing smoke-black on the horizon,

but here the fruit is still split-ripe with sunlight

and you and I bursting with our own Bacchanalia.

What a gift, to be trans and fat and beautiful with you,

warm and lustful, and stomachs full, what blessings!

Paper crackles as I push you back against the leather;

When your lips find mine, I taste liquor and Baja Blast.



Here’s the thing: fuck enough brunettes in enough

theaters and you’ll forget which ones got you off.

Fuck a few more and you learn how to pretend

you’ve forgotten which ones actually mattered.

So I’ve fooled around in more screening rooms

than I can count, with girls who didn’t know

or didn’t care who they resembled in the half-light,

who knew, somehow, that I was never for keeps.

We used to dream in technicolor sunsets

and endless skylines, but now I’ve walked

every edge of this city without you, and

Technicolor isn’t the miracle it once was.

I won’t write a sequel we’ve already spoiled.

This ends exactly how it began: a theater with just

the two screens, a star-crossed romance, you

and me, squinting as the lights come up.



Watch the does. They look over this

sea of marble and it seems to part

just for them. The locals whisper,

there are tales of a monster here,

a pterodactyl, or dragon, or a bird

large enough to carry a child away.

(The ones who do not fear death enough,

who whittle away their days in this forest,

this mouth of jagged and crumbling teeth,

will chuckle awkwardly and assure you

it’s just a heron.) Here, the autumn wind

whispers secrets in voices long gone–

do not answer if they call your name,

but if you recognize the tune, feel free

to sing along. There is no great magic

here, time and decay simply have power

men cannot help but fear. A place like this

could almost make you believe in ghosts.



my life is saved by Keeton from high school

marching band, and my body reduces to

a jar full of of seawater

the waste of a million lives

frothing beneath my skin

beautiful and rotting

I almost wish he had never

thought to pull me close

wish the truck had come

to roll me over again

coat the tires in bile

leave a trace of me for miles.



A week after the festival came to its bloody close (my mosh-pit-split lip, your nose broken again), I scrounged the online photo gallery for hours, looking for any trace of the two of us, any proof that you and I could exist outside the walls of your apartment, the carefully-drawn borders of Rogers Park-Edgewater-Uptown where you’ll deign to be seen with me, the darkened screening rooms of theaters past, just one cell of film where we share the frame, your crimson technicolor beside my faded gray-blue, a pretty enough lie that I could pretend I’m not a secret you have to keep.

As usual, nothing.



They say love is a sacrament

to be taken kneeling, but you

and I were never that pious.

So if God should come looking,

may She find us laid on the couch:

your hand tangled idle in my hair,

mine braced against your knee;

find us warm and pink and sated,

the taste of love sticking to our lips.


Hanni Salata (they/them) is a Chicago-based poet and Capital-S Simp whose therapist really deserves a raise. In between kissing girls who are probably bad for them and marathoning only the most questionable of films with their best friend, Hanni's currently committed to writing a poem a day. Most of them aren't great, but a choice few are quality Bullshit. Twitter: @graceandlaurels

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