T Kira Madden


It’s the way your moods cross at the ankles, the way your tongue flutters in time. Words only tangle things, speak from your bones, and it was your body language, I told you, that said it.

I began reading your shape first. A nose, sagging earlobes, an ass that still makes me ache. You get me born again, baby, and it was like this every time: My fist against a wall, beating like a heart. Your face looks smeared on and your fingers are curled in knots. Our desire feels thicker in the dark, a desire with no arms or legs or spine, just a language. Your voice is only an extension of mine.

You, in a whisper. The blades of your hips look ochre in the evening. Your lips an “O” and you scissor kick dreams of peeling open the moon like a fat Clementine. And I think it’s your body that’s asking me the right questions: How do you want it? How can you heal it? Part me like a zipper. Jaws and tongues and plasma all swinging, suspended in the dark. Your sex-wet tummy says hush, hush, sweetheart. Hush. A hot, pulpy mouth. The moon being eaten bite by bite. Open me up and see what’s inside. Your body language, swallow every word. Touch me with those hands you pray with.

You said you wanted love letters so I try to write them now. I say darling, all letters are lies. I say your limbs look like weeping branches, I want to knead your insides like dough. I say there’s a poetry of you, a sonnet of a cheek all bruises in bloom. And I’d carry you around if I could, I say, barely breathing in my left breast pocket. I say I’d take every piece of you like a pill, just let me. I say I am missing the places we never went: the smell of empty pillows, an elbow, five knuckles, phantom silhouettes of a dialect gone. I say, these are all the places that we never went.

And it’s still like this every time. I imagine finding you, streetwalking 8th avenue, angles of a hitchhiking thumb. Quick drag to the ground, asphalt against my chin, you fade around the corner in the face of a hubcap. And I imagine finding you, my silence saying Closer now, Here is your delivery, Take it in, the shadows of our bodies kick-kicking like a pulse. And here is your love letter, my intended, this is it. Eyes like genocide, night rotting above us, in a blood orange heaven I’ll be yours.


T Kira Madden is a writer, photographer, and amateur magician living in New York City. Her work has most recently appeared or is forthcoming in Hyphen, The Collagist, Fourteen Hills, and elimae. She currently teaches fiction at Gotham Writer’s Workshop and is no longer on speaking terms with Vesper T. Woods.