day 7: bull dancer


Bull Dancer


Before Thera erupted and

sterilized us


I painted my skin blue.

I curled my hair.


Because the world was younger

we had only invented a few colors.

I wore the ones you liked,


grew wings because

everything was fluid and


you had asked me to.

Everything was much simpler.

We used our feet like hands


and I loved you because

you were a bull-dancer,


would dye your body red

and suspend yourself

over the raging body of the beast


stare upside-down

and backwards into the belly

of death.


At night, I watched you

stroke the bull’s horns, braid the copper wire

of his hair into the patterns your father showed you.


I called you Akrotiri.

The bull was Santorin.

While you slept I would look straight

into your open mouth, down your throat


where magma bubbled,

and wonder at the warmth

before unbearable heat.


Thera was angry.

I pressed my chest into the dirt


to gauge the certainty of her trembling.

You stayed out late,

coaxing the bull’s hair into

more and more complicated knots.


I would have told you then,

but we hadn’t invented language yet.

That I wanted your hands to

plait me like a bull


that I knew to call you by

your real name but I did not know the letters

or how to mouth them


that the paint from our separate skins

would blend into a color that had not yet

been invented.


You could dance

your lost art over my body.

The ash would come

from your throat.

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