You smell him first.
Animalistic, barbaric, being warned
of near danger through primal cue. He still
is evening sweat. Spearmint gum.
Department store cologne—Bleu de Chanel, he lies.
Whether instinctual reaction or emotional masochism,
you spin to find again the brownest eyes
you’ve known. A slant smile still so chilling:
lips protruding from stark bone structure—
a single crest above alarmingly calm seas.
And there he towers,
his hair shorter than painted in frescos ‘neath your eyelids,
the blood red dye you massaged through it grown out, cut off,
despite still drawing crimson battle lines
down your bathtub’s milky porcelain curves.

John Mark Brown is a queer poet from Southern Illinois, a senior creative writing student at Eastern Illinois University, and a cardigan enthusiast. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Indiana Review Online, Yellow Chair Review, Indiana Voice Journal, and Rat’s Ass Review, among others. He can be found embarrassing himself on Twitter: @johnbrownie13.

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