lines in italics written by Josh Olivier


We sit stoned on the couch, our feet sweaty

and outstretched. The smell of them in the air.

You read from the short story you’re writing:

Slouching, I looked at my hands, actively aware of the weight of my shoulders, feeling suddenly ape-like.

My stomach gurgles and I wonder

if I should take a preemptive Imodium.

My apartment is too small to shit

with you here and our relationship too new

for you to know I shit at all.

“Do you ever feel like a monkey?” I asked.

I scratch your greasy hair,

dandruff falling onto my black shirt

and wedging itself beneath my fingernails.

You dust it away in embarrassment.

“Especially when you smoke? Hyper aware of your body and how monkeyish it is?”

I think of the hair on the rest of your body:

the silliness of your shaved pubes

and the way the bald skin stands out against

the tufts on your stomach and thighs.

“We’ve definitely talked about being monkeys before. I think about it a lot.”

I think of the two week growth

I’ve allowed of my own pubic hair;

an attempt at feeling more like a woman.

Of the single hair that grows above

my nipple that I am always looking for,

removing or waiting to remove.

I moved my head around, scouring the area of her bed like a mother chimpanzee looking for her children. “Hoo-hoo. Hoo-hoo.”

We fuck and I ask you to rough me up:

leave bruises on my neck, a handprint

on my ass, make me remember I exist in a body.

That despite all this hiding, I’m still an animal.

I cum and there is no way to disguise it.

I make the same noise you wrote about:

Hoo-hoo. Hoo-hoo.