“the line where you end (and i begin)” by Sri Ramesh

when you love like me,
love is like soup simmering over a low fire
love is a rolling boil, a gentle slow burn
a hitch in breath when i press my palm deeper— 
love is control, like i’ve never had it before

still, sensuality is unrestrained in its blaze
fingertip-tiny throat bruises, their chest split down the middle and bleeding gold
it pours down your hands and stomach like a steady rain
intimacy is the water droplet beading at the nape of my neck
trickling down my spine. their hands hold my lower back, steady

control is blue flames licking at the handcuffs around my wrists
ash grey and charred
when you burn like me,
you get used to the pain (warm and familiar and grounding) 
intimacy is like a garden hose, tucking your thumb over the spout
spraying water over the sunflower-dotted grass
i am the white spark within the blue flame, how can i not be afraid?

when you breathe like me, 
warm over a flushed cheek and harsh with the tar in my lungs
a thousand years to crawl my fingers up their curved stomach, following mouth nose lips
fabric rough against the brown-red of my skin, a thousand years
the end of the night is the shape of their nose in the light, eyes fluttering closed

in the dark, the heat of your mouth is warmer
i can finally unbutton my shirt all the way to my sternum and let your hand up under the hem
under covers, dreams can feel so real, ichor stains my skin when i wake
the scars on your wrists mirror mine my kisses are your panacea
my hands don’t shake anymore
when you dream like me,
you can’t let go of being awake
they are the arms that pull me down
trap me under their breath and the smoky air
a thousand years live in the space between our bodies

speeding through time, i arch up to meet them

Sri Ramesh uses they/them pronouns.