because I never sweat until I met you.
But now, my body drips
like when I forget to leave
the bath all morning. Or maybe
I just like to let the heat linger, your handprint inflamed
on my upper right leg.
Can I hold your cold hand to my head?
In there, an oven with a foreign name
burns out every ingredient of you:
the way you:
bent down to untie my shoe/
picked the mushrooms out of my fried rice/
folded orange paper tulips for my nightstand.
The doctor says it’s all bacteria.
In a few days, he swears I won’t remember I ever felt
this warm or this restless.
But I keep waving the thermometer towards the lamp like a child.
Don’t make me go to school, let me stay home
and watch my silly favorite show.
Covering up hickeys with thick makeup and pretending to be mad/
throwing coins into empty concrete/
you saying I love you in your sleep.
Were you a man, or a cartoon dog, or a cloud with a face, and how
could I believe in any flaming mystery?
Rewind/fast forward/turn it off.
Toss the sheets away and then tuck myself in again.
sweat sweat sweat—
I read in dreams we communicate with God.
I guess my god is you: wearing a mascara-stained yellow towel/
stern-faced, trying to parallel park/
spreading avocado on a bagel and commanding me to crunch.
I would bite a little harder now or I would smear it on your face and lick and lick and
after all, Freud said it’s all about sex, but don’t worry.
There will be time for that—
I will wear a schoolgirl skirt and burn on the nurse’s cot, begging
to press you underneath my tongue.
Kara Lewis is a poet, writer, and editor who lives in Kansas City, Missouri. Her poems have appeared in Number One Magazine and Plainsongs. She is the recipient of the John Mark Eberhart Memorial Award, granted by the University of Missouri-Kansas City Creative Writing Program for a collection of poetry. She has also widely published her journalism, personal essays, and feminist criticism.