It's August and rain makes the air fresh
as it dances on our roof. It's my first time in love.
He strokes my hair and praises its color.
He says to call him Jack because my pronunciation of his real name bruises
his ears. He traces my veins with one finger to follow the blood
in all of its travels until it returns home,
to the heart, which he says also symbolizes love on his home
world, which he promises I'll find intriguing, welcoming, fresh.
Jack says it's all lies, this business about them drinking blood
from the spines of their own children. He says he loves
me like I was his own wife, and it bruises
his heart that we can't marry. Society is color-
coded, but my eyes, he says, are like oceans, glaciers, the color
of the auroras that arc over his childhood home,
and when I cry, how dark they turn, like bruises
on the night sky. Whenever he gets fresh
the sun blossoms in my chest. He loves
the way my nails crunching into the scales on his back don't draw blood
and he loves sucking my fingertips to clean away the blood
his scales drew. Jack says human blood is the color
of the cliffs here, of fire and the sun, and therefore of love.
This is the rainy season, and we're stuck at home
most days, beneath this high white ceiling. The air is fresh
and so is our love and my bruises.
After he hits me, he cries and tends the bruises.
I'm so soft, it takes so little to draw blood,
and he says he loves that my skin is so fresh,
like a newborn's, and the color
of overripe peaches, not like those bitter women at home,
blood sluggish and green, covered in scales, too hard to love.
I am so easy to love,
Jack says. He says, and I think he's onto something, that the bruises
are my gift to our new home.
Rain falls outside as I sing in the shower and the blood
spirals down the drain, consecrating us, the color
of rust, leaving me new for him again, blank canvas, fresh.
His hands leave bruises down my spine that change color
the longer he loves me. He says my blood
tastes like fresh salt, exactly like the water back home.