shelter & storm

i remember how we drove with the headlights on,
how i touched up my lipstick in the dark mirror:
fingers trembling, a dash of red across my chin.
black dress, soft makeup, bare feet.
rain poured like a nightmare, rushing.

we crept through the dirt, twigs poking our skin.
this was love, i decided: an evening painting yourself,
reshaping yourself, just to end up storm-soaked in the forest.
dead of night, blinding blackness.
i knew you only by your heartbeat.

my muscles ached, feet sore from crawling between trees,
but i’ll never crave the daylight. this was intimacy:
lying on our backs, starless summer sky,
knowing without seeing your face that these were your fingers
clutching mine. i didn’t need you to say you loved me.
i heard it in the rain, in the lightning,
in the way your breathing shifted as we fell asleep,
celestial and freezing.

Zoe Cunniffe is a poet and singer-songwriter from Washington, DC. She has previously been published in literary journals such as Velvet Fields, Trouvaille Review, Meniscus and The Showbear Family Circus, and she can be found on Instagram at @there.are.stillbeautifulthings.

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