That winter night, I imagined
pulling down the sleeves of your dress
and exposing your shoulders
and kissing your dark skin
and keeping my lips there, right there, on your shoulder
the whole night.
Instead, I cut the vegetables and you cooked.
And I thought that was wonderful too,
but I still dreamed of your shoulders the next day,
and I pined for them.
I thought of the things I did not allow myself to have,
like the dress on display at the department store
and my mom’s homemade pani puri
and my brothers kind words
and my father’s reluctant acceptance
and I felt sorry for myself,
and the demons in my head sank their teeth into my flesh
and I was drowning.
That winter night, we watched TV while we ate pasta from each others plates,
and the light from the screen painted our faces blue,
and I had the strangest sense of foreboding,
like masks slipping down faces,
like bodies on fire,
like I was drowning.