The Boiler

Nilla Larsen

ECLIPSED

I pack myself into pink, candy-striped short shorts, snap low-angle candids, and send them to him. I imagine his be right back behind the ramen shop counter, and he heads for the restroom. Leaning over the can, he strokes himself with one hand, the other pressed against the cold, jaundiced tile. His phone on the tank cover. My dazzlebutt on the screen. He spots the gray, soggy mop in the trolley bucket. Its frilly strings spill over the edges like the feelers of a caught sea creature. He’s reminded of Joy. Jennifer Lawrence. But no. He knows she’s from Kentucky and mugs with lips askew like his mother when she’s put off. So he calls up the flurry of his favorite shots. Body parts mush against each other, trying to merge or gobble. He quickens to a close up: solar eclipse. Red, raw streaks from swollen corona. His payoff swirls in the pool.
                    This isn’t where I wanted my fantasy to end up. I got vague just there because I don’t watch porn. Still, I catch on. Cocks covered in toppings disappear inside mouths. Slut, cunt chink like dimes pitched down a dry well. Never No. I’m scared my lust is soft as sponge cake. Not bruised or transgressive enough. I fear no man has made love to me. When we fuck, he burrows into my neck. Is he afraid to show his come face? Is my body the dummy for bodies he hasn’t entered? Should we smother our thoughts like stowaways? Would it be safe? If he looked at me, would he feel trapped against the glass case of my desire? Tonight, I’ll ask him to make love to me. Eventually, I’ll slap his paddings and he’ll lick the holes he wants, but that’s not where we start. We begin slow, Jello-shaky, and we don’t look away. Like kids staring at the sun, we gaze until it hurts. We close our eyes and see only the other’s image pulse and repeat.

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Nilla Larsen holds an MFA in poetry from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Her poems are featured in or forthcoming from Nimrod, Crab Creek Review, Asheville Poetry Review, Waccamaw, North Carolina Literary Review, and elsewhere. She received the 2016 Poetry Fellowship to attend Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. She tweets @nillalarsen.