Nicasio Andres Reed
1. The ring finger of my right hand, just up to the first knuckle, to the hypersensitive pad of it that I hold up while typing because it’s often too much, too personal, as if the skin there is thinner, as if I am directly beneath it, veiled but barely, this one spot the fissure where I am too easily touched, the secret part of me, the gap.
2. A breath.
3. The dry bristles of a paintbrush. Back and forth, to whet it.
4. My mother’s ginisang munggo, and look, I am not sentimental, but there is an earth taste in this dish, a hot sun on dark soil taste taste, a full human moment pinned to the plate, plucked as if this meal were a fruit and could be chosen at the moment of its total ripeness and split and spilled down his throat, and when that happens, I would see him in the garden, I would see him at the table, I would see him with his eyes shut and his throat at work, the bones of his hands in relief.
5. The scars on my chest, still pink and tender, where I carved myself into my body.
6. A fat green grape.
7. Oh, and a yellow mango, cheek by cheek, and then the long, flat, hairy seed, pushed deeper and deeper, slowly, slowly.
8. Kisses, kisses, kisses.
9. The poems I started, but never finished, because they gave away too much, their schemes too transparent, the poems that spelled out my name before I knew what it was, poems that accuse me, poems I’ve forgotten.
10. A pocket of air that came through my window during last night’s thunderstorm, cold and excited, during an hour not on any clock, piercing, enticing, the werewolf’s call to shed yourself and go, now while no-one is awake and you can’t remember the sun and the office and the car payment, and would he gasp it into his stuttering chest, look at me, desperate and bare, wild with recognition, yes, he has been to this place before, yes, oh god, oh no, me too.
11. My entire fist, closed and blunt.
12. The best bottle of wine I’ve ever had and could never find again, red, heavy, a Catalan wine bought out of an open-topped wooden box in a stone building down a narrow street in a small town in Kent, white label gold lettering, and I’ve been searching through years for the way it made me feel, the forward momentum of it all, 20 years old and shopping for wine in a foreign country, everything ahead of me, everything at all.
13. My arm, the full length of my arm until my shoulder is pressed to his nose and my ribs against his aching chin, his heart in the crook of my elbow, my fingers striving to cup the bowl of his hip.
14. The grit off the sidewalk from when I fell and split my lip and stood up dry-eyed and kept running.
15. Crocuses from the first of March.
16. My other arm and my head and my neck and I will keep my eyes open, I swear it, I will hold my breath until I find his lungs and kiss the air from them.
17. My torso, the solid barrel of me, my softnesses and my workhorse organs, the mundane mammalian glut of me, my shallow waist, my weary spine, the open planes of skin that are barely mine at all, pages unwritten, a place I’ve rarely been.
18. Yes, my ass and my sex, but that’s barely the point anymore.
19. My thighs that I never knew what to do with, my rickety knees, my weak ankles, my feet too large then too small, and, god, my toenails, the parts of me with no business being seen, the parts I am not sure whether I am, the parts I could not dare to acknowledge, the man who lives here somewhere from my heels back up to my hairline, who could do this, who could dive into him, arms arrowed up, palms together, a prayer to be devoured, wiped out, wolfed down, spoiled and despoiled, ravishing and ravished, a body unmoored, a wanton, wanted thing.
20. And again, again.
Nicasio Andres Reed is a queer Filipino-American writer and poet whose work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Shimmer, Uncanny Magazine, and other venues. Nico currently resides in Wisconsin, though his heart and his dogs are in Tagaytay. Find him on Twitter @NicasioSilang. Oscar Isaac: I'm sorry. Call me.