There was a dead raccoon
Established stark,
In the entrance of the gazebo.
A shadow covered up to its neck
Like a bed-sheet.

And then it was
Maraschino cherries,
Situated between
Her pale incisors and molars.
I minded blood

Lips blinked words.
I saw conversation as action.

Couldn’t recall
When I tasted perennials
Instead of boiled ethanol.
Inside a kiss.

She blinked words.
Promised Maraschino cherries,
But muscle memory was baffled by the lucid.
So it was
Blood for alcohol,
Alcohol for courage.

Her lips felt like wilting petals
From a flower dying of dehydration.
But I preferred her labials torrid.
For every time she licked to moisturize,
The flavor of alcohol reentered the air.
I was reminded of the failed promises
A lack of moisture provides.

But if her lips were the petals
Her wrinkles were the roots.
Striving to demonstrate
Why this aperture
Should remind anything to blossom.

“Hold still.” I said, kicking the raccoon’s corpse.
“Sometimes these animals play dead for safety.”
The mammal reacted to the force,
Motionless as a bone.

I was delighted to watch her smile grow.

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