“If You Recognized Me”

I feel her laugh in the slick tooth dragging under my navel, in the quick humid press of her breath. The tip of her tongue traces the bruises sunsetting across the spread of my hips. Her fingers tease my eyes closed against the curve of my chest, the swell of my thighs and crest of my bent knees. Don’t look, she says, and my breath tugs hard and hurting on my lungs. I want to tell her that nothing could be easier at this moment than not having to see. Instead, I groan for her, an earthquake deep in my throat. In the hollow where thigh joins hip, her lips twitch a moment and are gone. My stomach roils and shakes. Soon her hands will find me again, and she will reach for the dark rough center of me, and maybe then I will shake apart. And that fresh broken self might find a way to articulate my body, find new words for what she is touching. But now I can only think of Jacob Trudeau following me out of Chemistry to ask where I was hiding my dick if I wanted to be a boy so bad. I couldn’t look in the mirror for weeks after that, even closed my eyes in the shower. I want to tell her to look for me, to touch her fingertips to every inch of me and explain what I can’t. I want her to see me, beyond skin and the arbitrary placement of softness, to see me and understand, but I say only please, please, please.

About Nic Campeotto

Nic Campeotto is a genderqueer Tennessee native and recent graduate of Baldwin Wallace University. Several of their poems have been published in Baldwin Wallace’s literary journal, The Mill, for which they have served as Assistant Editor and Editor-in-Chief. Their work has also appeared in For Books’ Sake’s poetry anthology Furies, Guide to Kulchur’s LGBT issue of their creative journal, and will appear in the upcoming issue of Cactus Heart. They currently live in Cleveland, Ohio, and still occasionally pine for the Smoky Mountains.

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