Fever Medication and Lovers Past
by Aki Schilz
It will never be again.
Remember the lovers you gathered like flowers into your arms.
Remember each but blend their edges together so they do not cut your skin open. Remember their eyes – blue and green as marbles, as the sky and sea tumbled into a landscape of rolling bedcovers that tangle with those things brittle as butterfly-wings you call ‘beliefs’, those things whose strength is tested against the walls of an arena with complicated archaeology that you study late into the night beneath a single lamp, hoping to unlock the catacombs and shake out the bodies one by one, dust lifting from skeletons as from the hems of each item of clothing you have lifted over your head, in sunlight and in rain. Remember the skin of them. The roundedness of shoulders and the hips in their gentle whale shapes you marvel at each time you uncover them (discovery is the mirror image of recovery: dig and sanctify; consecrate and bury; forgive. Forgive. Reverse and repeat each motion). Remember the scattering of freckles, but forget where they were (a shoulder, a forearm, the kissed tip of a nose: does it matter whose?). Remember the smokedrift and blue carpet, the sound of the sea and a generator’s industrial hymn beneath a Japanese lily dropping petals like salt, or bombs. Remember the taste of each smile and the crease at each elbow underneath the press of your thumb. The sweat between the sheets and the cotton billowing above your outstretched arms, grazing your fingertips. Remember those. Remember arms. ‘You have lovely arms.’ ‘They are lovely with you in them.’ Remember a scar running across the back of a hand that pushed into your wristbone till you thought it might snap. Remember your heart, snapping out of its brown-paper-and-strings. A flicker of muscle. Hair curled between your fingers. Teeth. The thud of limbs heavy as trees falling in floodwater. The slap of a wall against your open palm. The way he leaned across a table in a cafe to kiss you. A photograph caught like a wish on a phone. The way your body fell sideways over the bed and you threw your arms back and the floor and the ceiling were the same.
Remember the sound of your name.
In different voices. Urgent. Or questioning. Tender. Or with a kind of wonderment that makes your ribs ache. Remember it is only a game. Remember the rules are always changing. (‘Excuse me?’ I loved you. I loved you, you idiot. I loved you.) It was. It will never be again. It was. It will be again. But different. Remember.