You have a way of turning away from me while still looking back at me that my blood cannot seem to forget, it courses like silk panic through the blue rivers in my veins. As though you were holding me and leaving me at the same time, I am suspended, one foot in front of another but only half of me has crossed the line between freedom and captivity, huntress and prey. The thing is I can’t blame you because then I’d have to let you go completely and that would be too hard to do. Hard because of the quiet softness of your eyes on my skin. Hard because of the tender sweet ache which consumes me, head to toe, body and soul, when your hands shake reaching for the small of my waist. All of this swirls within my chest as I walk along a lonely street as this early evening in January is becoming dark. The concrete scent of cold pavement mixed with the spiced fragrance of a distant wood burning fire. High above the frozen buildings I can just see a few twinkling stars, washed out by a thin swath of pewter clouds, spread almost as scantily as the atmosphere itself. Filling my lungs with frigid night air, I reach into a pocket and pull on my gloves. It would seem in winter we are always protecting, shielding vulnerable things. A sleek sedan passes by slowly, its tires along the cobblestone the only sound aside from my boots scratching against the sidewalk. The driver stops at the corner to let out a tall woman in black tights and heels, she thanks him, slams the car door and lights up a cigarette as she leans her curvy hips against a wrought iron railing. Her coat tight about her, eyes and lips glistening in the moonlight, she exhales short breathy plumes of smoke and I can almost feel her heart beating fast on the nicotine. Back at home I pour a glass of wine and nestle in among my many stacks of books, notes, papers, journals. I’m trying to decide how I feel about the difference between erotica and pornography because for reasons I cannot seem to explain this matters to me. It matters to me to understand if it matters, if that makes sense, which I am fully willing to accept that perhaps it doesn’t. Nin opens her collection of erotica Little Birds with these words, “It is one thing to include eroticism in a novel or a story and quite another to focus one’s whole attention on it. The first is like life itself. It is, I might say, natural, sincere, as in the sensual pages of Zola or Lawrence. But focusing wholly on the sexual life is not natural. It becomes something like the life of the prostitute, an abnormal activity that ends by turning the prostitute away from the sexual. Writers perhaps know this. That is why they have written only one confession, or a few stories, on the side, to satisfy their honesty about life… But what happens when a group of writers… devote themselves entirely to the erotic? How does this affect their lives, their feelings towards the world, their writing? What effect has it on their sexual life?” There is so much I don’t know about how I feel about any of this. For my entire life I have been a sensual girl, a sensual woman. Every nerve ending, it seems, is acute, alert, attentive. Some of my senses were praised, while my sexual senses were down played or hushed at kindest and outright publicly shamed, mocked, or ridiculed at cruelest. But despite what harsh and belittling treatment I have known, there remains in me a desire, a need, a curiosity, a passion, which flickers and licks at the walls of my tight little prison. There is no such thing as a poet, an artist, devoid of sensuality, sexuality, eroticism. There is no such thing as a woman who does not hunger and thirst to devote at least a portion of her most secret self to those forbidden flames. I light up a cigarette and open my notebook. I blow smoke to the ceiling and write about burning things. I write and write and write until my ink runs dry.