Is it a secret if I keep your keys? I want to be sure we
can find each other again. If I ever feel like, it will
be a pleasure to take care of you. If the wind is not
too cold in the morning, coming off the lake. Devour
me once, shame on you. I know when we were ourselves
nothing fit, and the keys will not fit, after tonight.
But you belong to me. Your world belongs to me. The
double locks, the elevator, the stairwell, that dark
moment before someone flicks the light switch, the broth
of insecurity in our stomachs when we see clearly. Will
you lower your dagger, I wonder? This is why I always
walk around pitiful and under-bellied, hoping to drain
the fear from everyone else. I didn't come to steal from
you. I wanted to sit at the table, as we did then, as us.
*Golden shovel: “We will not devour ourselves tonight. // The dark broth will always drain from us.” – Ashleigh Young

Evening Palette

You’re as beautiful as ink,
especially blue, you
tell me.
Another faint vein sings to you
under my skin while you sit
a couch cushion away with blue
raspberry sports drink in hand and
I am shivering through the sweet
smell of electrolytes
following your current, crossing
stained tongue to seek the center.
When I say I will have to change
my name, you tug me closer
by the belt loops of my jeans,
answering tonight's anxiety
with silence, with unbuttoning
to check the color
of my underwear and laughing
because I have matched it
to my shirt. Because every moment
exists on a spectrum.
I test the ocean spray
of your tattoo a thousandth
time, for wetness.

Lauren Bender lives in Burlington, VT. Her work has appeared in IDK Magazine, The Collapsar, Gyroscope Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Yes Poetry, and others. You can find her on twitter @benderpoet.