Exposure Therapy, or, A Meat Romance

So close your eyes are mountain ranges
chains of radial radiant muscles so delicate.
I want to pull out your eyelashes
gather them carefully into a revolting heap
and burn them somewhere far away.
I tell you this as my skin begins to crawl.

You roll your eyes;
you do not understand. You are covered with your skin
I am covered with your skin.
I want to push my face into your hot neck but that too
is flaking slowly away, and it is held together by grease and sick warmth.
You’re meat I mutter,
not shuddering as I drag my chewed-up thumb cautiously over your jaw.
So are you you point out.
You smile and try to kiss me,
and I moan
in panic, disappointment, frustration.

I try to explain with a tongue like a swelling tumor:
You’re too good for meat. You’re not disgusting
but all of this is.
I pass my hand over all your body
with tremulous brittle-winged fingers.
You push into my touch (I hate it)
(thank you thankyou)
and murmur in a stream of warm breath:
I am my body I am
a complex system of fluids and electrics I
am not a brain alone but a biome.

You know that kind of talk gets me hot and bothered
—in a different way from before—
that’s why you do it. You want
to leave philosophy for a little while but I
I—
I’m not exactly like that.
I inhabit my body uneasily, never sure
just what it is trying to communicate
or whether at any moment it will disintegrate into wet chunks.

That you are your body is one of the reasons I love you
even though it means I cannot separate what I love from what I hate.

Think of it as exposure therapy.
To inure yourself to me.

I hope I am never inured to you
I say fervently.
I marshal the forces of chemical insistence
and start looking for places to put my hands.

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