In his language, there’s a polite way to convey desire: to say, I want you like carefully-clinked china. The tea burns my tongue and after I drink it cross-legged on his mattress, I find it difficult to correct him when he confuses his Ls and Rs. I try but somehow lust becomes rust and robes become his ears that I touch my lips to as though they might shatter–a kiss becomes the tip of an iceberg that rips through an ocean, time gives up its ability to be late, running instead like thread unspooled into the rate at which water boils. We stare at each other and when he says something, it sounds like something else.

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