Letter to a Long-lost Lover, Elizabeth Leo

Letter to a Long-lost Lover

 

Dear, what came between us? That day I grew the tail,
do you remember? The morning sun declared it
like the news’ shrill announcement of those trapped miners’ escape.
The bedroom smelled like something hatched.
The new tail twitched in time with my nerves
as you paled and turned off the clock radio,
went for the same surgical tape you’d used to fix the leaking sink,
now to hold the new expressive digit against my thigh
for work hours. Long pants, then til now.

Later you’d trim my spiraled dewclaws without disgust.
I didn’t whine when you hit past the quick and I bled. Quietly
from the top shelf crammed with unused spices,
you’d bring down the flour to pour over the wound
until we had a blood red, mealy dough
we rolled between fingers and tossed in the can.

When my elk horns sprouted and the itching velvet filthed the bed,
we played Otis Redding and took a bath while the sheets dried.
My tail swished the water, making frothy white suds
you put on your face and wore like a beard.
We went on smiling
forever and in love as we could be.

This last was a lie. The cat’s teeth I tongue now
took you in the throat.
This serpent tongue is fast.

_____________
Elizabeth Leo

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