"Kiss me like your body is all teeth.
Kiss like this is war and we are losing—
Kiss like you are trying to crawl inside me.
Kiss like you
are half as starving as I am.
Kiss me like you mean it and then
The beast in me is hungry and
I have to feed it but I
would rather lose you
than let it feast until it is full
and you are empty."
I’m just gonna be honest and tell
you the first thing that made me
stop breathing, and it was your teeth,
peeking out of your mouth like little moons.
I was just a kid then, staring at the
big bad wolf like maybe his fangs could be kissed, like maybe I could get close
enough to taste the night on
his scowl, but I settled for a hand
on the shoulder, instead.
I’ll let you be the hero if it means you’ll love me.
I’ll be the villain if it means you’ll
I don’t care.
I’ve got a handful of my
own darkness and if you won’t take
it then I’ll swallow it down myself
until I am something terrifying
and you have to come running to try and take it out of me.
Because the big bad wolf doesn’t
know how to use his big bad hands
and I know this like I know my name,
so I wait.
One day, I will stop talking about monsters.
I will stop trying to grow claws just
so that I can run with the wolves.
I will be the person who found you
and hated you until it felt like love,
and you’ll pretend not to notice the difference.
I will wait until your teeth are suns
and then I’ll be Icarus.
I’ll fly and sing your name on the way
"It’s the darkness in me.
It only ever claws at the light in you.
I tried to bury the moons that gave us
and I tried to bury the pulse that
gave us this rage.
I meant to tell you I was sorry sooner,
but the only thing left alive inside of me
is the beast that did this to you.
I wish I could have been better
for the both of us.
I wish I knew how to love you
When you died on the street I knew I was dreaming. You asked me why and I said I didn’t know and you said you were sorry and I still don’t know what for. I said it’s fine. Your body jerked like something was leaving and I held you under the summer streetlight, listened to a quiet hum as time and the cicadas died.
When you died on the street the second time I knew I was dreaming and I promised you I would always be where you are. You died laughing, like the time we watched that movie with that one actor from that one show and you said you missed your mother and there was nothing I wanted more than to steal your mother’s corpse from the casket in the graveyard where she forgot to breathe. I can’t make things better. I thought it’s not supposed to be like this, I thought when did we get so small.
When you died on the street a third time I knew I was dreaming so I kissed you on the curb with your body in my lap. You did not kiss back. I kept thinking the universe is a glass of spilled milk. I closed my eyes and did not cry.
It was morning and our hearts leaked around us when I told you the sheets needed to be washed. We did the laundry in a beautiful room with thin white walls and you made a sound like a dying animal and I thought, listen — I thought, this is why I’m not where you are."
It’s the part of the story after the girl disappears,
and I know she’s already dead,
but I keep watching
until her friends find her in the boathouse
her limp body dropped over the edge of the dock, bare-
chested and blanched, her hysterical
boyfriend heaving her up and holding her close,
clinging to the sweat of his neck. This is how I miss you:
I am the dead girl’s hand
slipping down her waist and smacking palm up
into the water.
I am ashamed of our distance,
the six hundred miles between our bodies
and how you sob when you tell me that since I’ve gone
what remains is the space where you once grew
around me, the same way a tree absorbs ruin
and the hollow of constructed frames.
On the screen, the boyfriend is now victim,
tearing through woods, clipping every branch
while the killer walks coolly behind him
knowing he will fall eventually.
I have never sacrificed
a virgin with the knives I keep in my kitchen.
There is no wolfs bane or garlic beside my bed.
I sleep unprotected.
But because I know endings, I will never make love to you
in the crypt of an abandoned castle
or parked in the woods with your back pressed against the dash
of a jet black El Camino as the hook hand scrapes closer
and closer to the door handle.
I know about the tissue of the heart,
the persistent pull of muscle and bone,
and the beauty of blonde hair
against the shoulder of night. Because of the Wolf Man
and Frankenstein I understand heartbreak,
how we cannot escape the inevitable
full moon or torchlight, and the way my stomach moves
when you ask me what I am thinking
and I am thinking about someone else.
What I Have Started to Understand About Love
Because I Watch Horror Movies; BY KEITH KOPKA
Anger walks into a bar and I’m
halfway in love.
There’s no joke here. I leave
my beer sweating on the counter
and ask them to dance.
Anger comes home with me,
looks too long at my gentle
knuckles and cries.
They say sorry, I say
‘Let’s just sleep together’.
I bite Anger’s lip bloody
because I can’t control myself.
Because I just really, really need
Anger asks to go slow, asks
me to be gentle.
Anger melts in my hands like
a warmth I never wanted, falling
onto the pillow beside me
Anger falls asleep with their head
on my chest, solid and heavy and
too familiar, while the silence
inside me starts
to growl like the starving thing
I thought I had something to
feed it; something to let it
tear itself to shreds with, but
it turns out I’m the only
pair of sharp teeth in the room.
Turns out Anger only wanted
a place to sleep.