She pours the salt on the tomato slice.
I am salt and tomato. I am spilling seeds. I am knife.
I want to be everything that enters her mouth.
“I’m pretty straight.” Slice. If the tomato were a finger,
it would be bleeding my signature. Instead, it is black.
I cannot eat it. I am the colorblind artist I read about
yesterday, who saw all reds as black. He had to eat with
his eyes closed so as to not be repulsed. “It’s funny though,
you know me better than Ben.” The guts of the tomato tumble
out. Slice. Take my finger into your mouth so you can swallow
my name. “Madeline,” I say. It is my voice now. I am a music box
gently plucking the threads of one song. “I know,” she says this,
it is her mouth, her red perfection, saying “I know your name. Wait,
what?” What is the word what. Why does it sound like Non­-English.
She talks about Ben. He is hers. They live on the island
of requited touch. They put on sunglasses and lean back
in their colorful lawn­-chairs and watch planes crash and burst open
like fruit. “You,” it is me talking again, or it is the tomato,
or it is the blackness. “What?” She says. Come morning, she will not
bury her mouth in the back of my neck. If my eyes flash open, startled as
apples falling to the grass, it will only be an if. She will not change
her shirt and peek skin and cause my heart to spasm open like a lily.
“Ooo, smell,” Her fingers are to my nose, red and dripping with seeds,
sparkling with salt, “smells like metal.” Three, two, one, takeoff.

Shira Erlichman

Shira Erlichman is a poet, musician, and visual artist. A three time Pushcart Prize nominee, her work can be found in The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed Reader, PBS Poetry, The Massachusetts Review, Bitch, Psychology Tomorrow, and Winter Tangerine Review, among others. She was awarded a residency by the Millay Colony and the James Merrill Fellowship by the Vermont Studio Center. BUST Magazine premiered her new album Subtle Creature in October, calling it "a spectacular mystery."

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