_____ plus Habitation/________ to Stranger

I liked the way you bared your neck to hide your throat. You liked
the way I flayed myself alive and stitched the pieces
back together, all the limbs fastened to the wrong wounds.
“Did you know,” I murmured, “that porcupines are warm-blooded?
They have to huddle for heat in the winter.” I clasped your hand in mine,
planted the palm on my thigh, and let you puncture skin and watch as the blood
seeped between your trembling fingers. “But their spines prick each other,
obviously, so they have to break apart and freeze until the cold
drives them back together. Nature can be a little cruel, can’t it?” You dragged a thumb
across my ribs a little reverently, dug the nail into my flesh,
pupils dilated like you were gazing at something vicious and beautiful.
Contradictions carved in red and pink on my chest, as if plugging
fissures on a carcass with something to fall in love with.

Elie Belkin (they/them) is a non-binary Jewish writer entering their junior year of high school in New York City. They are interested in mathematics, queerness, Baudrillard’s philosophy, 70s post punk, and sometimes all of them at once.

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