We looked out your skylight at slow birds,
birds slow as if still, still as if pinned
like loose limbs onto soot-blue sky-skin.

You wound my hair around your fist,
pulled me like a billion kites to your mouth.

We were slow and quiet in your empty house.
Our eyes made yellow patterns
on your dark blue bed
in the blue dark.

Liking you was dirty and knowing you
was dirty and kissing you was clean.
Our tongues cream.

Your flesh, hair: shiny lines,
lucid shine, clear sheen,
slippery as sealskin, me opening
like soapstone, me heady
as sea-smoke. Old roses in your room,
tucked into stilled water in a yellow cup.

Tendons tense
as a bird on an open rock;
you: as full of muck
as a snail-shell;
me: slow-shocked
without my skin on.

I was all gone. I was gone as the summer
dog dreaming on the wooden panels
of your bedroom floor, hot nose
pushing your cherry door.

All rumpled on your bedroom floor,
creased cloth in your clean space. Crude lace.

Moss in my mouth and lichen in yours,
slick eyes, storm outside.
Cinder-thunder. Soot sky.

You were more than crawling along my arms
making their hairs change colors

My must-have-been, my midnight linen
My rawest hem, my reddest string

My eyes broken open— my good torn thing.

+

Isabelle Doyle is a fourth-year undergraduate student at Brown University, studying English and Literary Arts. Her poetry has been published in such literary magazines as The Blue Pencil Online, Cargoes, Thin Noon, The Round, Clerestory, and Triangle. Her full-length poetry manuscript, BABYFACE, was the 2018 recipient of the Frances Mason Harris Prize, established in 1983, which is awarded annually to a woman undergraduate or graduate student at Brown University for a book-length manuscript of poetry or prose-fiction.