It begins with a tickle,
by Tara Teeling
on the skin, in the corner of the eye,
and you ignore it because you’d rather
this kind of flutter than not.
It’s a budding chestnut for the biography,
and it ripples the blood, threshing like foamy rapids:
hysterical spume under the cracking glass.
The fingers make contact,
and there are a thousand, tiny explosions
that never make a sound or move a hair.
The breath comes next, with the smooth collision of lips,
infusing each other with a flood of divine certainties,
not the least of which is the conviction that
twin flames do burn together in the cosmos,
just as the mystics insisted.
It’s the magic of predestination, surely,
and common sense gives way
to the love delusion as it wrecks
all the innocents caught deer-eyed
in the path.
At first, there is no sleep or food
and the body still thrives,
feeding only on rhythm and friction,
denying human design.
Then, there is the need for both in balanced portions,
equal servings of vegetables, fruits and meat
punctuated with warm, leg-locked catnaps
and shared bowls of milk.
The changes move on subtly, until one day
when the meals are huge and silent, and
sleeping is cold and endless, like it was before
except now the skin is itching and
the eyes have begun to water.
It may be a reaction, but to what?
You pray it’s not to chocolate
(too rash a consequence for even
the most vengeful of gods) .
The bees have kept their distance,
put off by an immoderate sweetness that
they can do nothing with, and you’ve
never been rubbed wrong by
the spirit of the flowers in the garden.
Still, you numbly latch your reflection
and note the allergic crease;
a fine line across the bottom of your nose,
pale and horizontal, a filament scar
that neatly declares an unopened wound.
The entanglement has started to sting you,
as the dander of a black cat’s back
will do to the sensitive eye,
and it no longer makes sense
to keep pushing at the nose when
it is the cat which clearly needs to go:
the crease will fade eventually.
Once, it was unmixed rapture around the
onset of the tickle or the itch,
but without warning the senses were corrupted
and the love had spread too thin,
no longer warming the body, but grating it:
a woolen blanket on tender skin.
It leaves you with nothing but chocolate,
but at least that’s something.