It’s been a long hot day, the kind that melts little pools of sweat along the collarbone and hangs in your throat like the imminent threat of suffocation. The truth is it’s been actual hell for decades and most of the time you can keep it together but not tonight. Tonight it’s all too heavy. All the ache in your chest from one day after another, each the crying same, all the useless steps to nowhere in particular, one foot in front of the other, the other, the other. The buzz of electric wires sizzling beneath white summer heat lightning, cicadas vibrating in the damp grass, the crackling static coming from the neighbor’s old television set as they watch some fuzzy black and white flick, has us both delirious with need. We’ve been drinking tequila since you got home from work and you crush your cigarette into an old faded shot glass with the Vegas strip etched along the side. When you press your fingers against my neck I fall still underneath your gaze, motionless, patient as a fragile animal who instinctively trusts the hand she prays will feed it. I watch your face as you move your mouth around words that sound like a song soft enough to be whispered to a child who is frightened of the night for reasons she cannot speak about, only run from in the manic flash of dreams. Wolves. Forests. Chain link fences. Spreading my arms out above my head, I’m floating in a sea of stars spinning in slow circles atop the blackness. You tell me to close my eyes as you sink your burning fingers into the river of my body, and as I open to offer you the entire universe I carry within me, you tell me even my most vivid desires are only imagination. That the world we inhabit between us is a world conjured from nothing but the purest of devotions which can never be held onto, nothing that will last beyond the glimmer of the dewy garden weeping at dawn. That I have nothing to fear as long as I remember this. Without these bodies, the hands and mouths we become in forbidden moments like these; without the pleasure we deny and offer each other, without the distraction we deliver to one another, we are nothing but a beautiful, unbearable tragedy. Your voice drifts in and out of my consciousness as I slip deeper in to the cyclical motion and become one with whatever the grand scheme of all transient things is meant to be. The rhythm of your gentle stroking aligns my body with the moonlight and all the oceans on all of the planets waiting out there yet to be discovered syncopate their tides to the sweet pain of our perfect little private destruction. I seep into the cosmic vastness, sated and not afraid of anything. For a precious sliver of a time I don’t even deserve, I am held and safe and I know for certain this is what death must feel like: the emptiness of endlessness without the fear.