vice grip

If she asked me the state of my heart, I would say: the barbed wire is built up thick, a little too tight in places, squeezing, prickling, where the blood escapes in trickles with every pump of the muscle.

I would do it differently, now, again, after this last time that I offered up my messy red heart on a shined silver platter, her name gleaming, freshly engraved. I would not go back to her apartment. I would not accept gifts of wings on a necklace chain when her heart leaps from her chest to my palm – involuntarily – and she forgets to ask for it back. I would keep our courtship in dark bars with indulgent mixed drinks, dance clubs where I stoop to knee-level and come on to every girl with heels higher than three inches.

I would not say ‘I love you’, not eagerly, would not hold the words on my soft palette like a marble, a pearl made from sand, from too much grinding. I got me a mouth guard. A machine to stop the optimism from forming sentences beginning with ‘I have never felt’ and ‘you are so’ and ‘I can’t believe’ and ‘I love.’

If she asked me the state of my heart, I would lie and tell her it is crushed in a vice-grip of regret. Of longing. But really, it is rebounding like a glacial valley, too long crushed by thousands of tons of frozen water, and she was the vice-grip all along.

Published by Sinclair Sexsmith

Sinclair Sexsmith (they/them) is "the best-known butch erotica writer whose kinky, groundbreaking stories have turned on countless queers" (AfterEllen), who "is in all the books, wins all the awards, speaks at all the panels and readings, knows all the stuff, and writes for all the places" (Autostraddle). ​Their short story collection, Sweet & Rough: Queer Kink Erotica, was a 2016 finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and they are the current editor of the Best Lesbian Erotica series. They identify as a white non-binary butch dominant, a survivor, and an introvert, and they live outside Seattle as an uninvited settler on traditional, ancestral, & unceded Snoqualmie land.

3 thoughts on “vice grip”

  1. Tiara says:

    Incredibly beautiful poem.

  2. Dylan says:

    Wow, I feel as if this is miles from where you were yesterday.

  3. sinclair says:

    I wrote it on Sunday, actually. and it's not an accurate expression of what's going on for me now, just a piece of writing that I liked …

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