From the Anthology 

Breaking the Silence

body goes home, part two

by Nic Campeotto

to where i cut your hair, in the sun behind my house, chair legs rocking in the rhythm of the strands falling onto my hand, your shoulders, the back of your neck

to where i took your hand on my rough black carpet

to where i wrapped your hair in tinfoil on my bathroom floor

to the room in my memory in which everything is red

to where i thought of running my hand down the front of your shirt

to the place where we first recognized each other

to the snake around my arm

to where my wine glass fell, to where my body was pressed to yours and warm

to where i broke open a pomegranate in the dark

to where i never saw that book again

to where i learned to sleep next to your body

to where i spread myself out on the bed, barely dressed and quoting keats—

                 city, my savior—here where i regrew a body—in which i could

                 survive—in which i could learn real touch, a new warmth—

                 city, my safe, cold bed, in the morning with the wind off the lake— city,

                 my always-open window—

to where we woke early and covered ourselves in glitter, to where we washed ourselves clean in cold water

to where we drank peach moonshine, warm and marigold-orange and sweet, lips catching on the lid of the jar

to that sweet roll of my stomach, to where your eyes first warmed, to every place i found you again

to where i learned to pass, to not pass, to pass again

to where i learned to touch without fear: cold body, ambiguous body, reaching body—body re-gendered and de-gendered

to where i learned to line my eyes, to cut my own hair

to where i read milton by the lake

to where i stared into the sloped ceiling on hot afternoons and thought of evaporation

to where i walked home, barefoot and stoned

to where i knelt on the rocks and rubbed a drop of water into the quartz around my neck

to where we walked on early mornings through the caves

to where my shoes gaped open to let in the snow

to where, for years, i wore nothing but skirts

to where, drinking by the lake, we talked of stripping off and jumping in

to where my hips settled around yours, and yours, and yours

to the apartment where we left every window open in the summer, where i tried to grow violets and thyme by the kitchen window, where i left aventurine and jade on the sill

to where we celebrated on the back porch and talked of never leaving—

                                                city, how did i learn to be a different body?

                      city, my cup full of seaglass—city where i learned to read my. own.                       hands—city where i named this body—city where i spoke. this body.                       —city where i became this body new—city where i wandered,                       lost, on superior avenue—city where i have gotten lost so many                      times—city where i pull off the turnpike on cold december nights—                      city where i kissed you, and kissed you, and kissed you—city where i                      felt the smell of nutmeg and orange peel and hot wax—

                     i wrote a new body on bay leaves and sealed them in a jar and                      buried it in the cuyahoga valley. on the drive home, i pulled over to                      collect fallen leaves, pieces of tire, loose slate, milkweed, beach pea,                      pink turtlehead, goldenrod, sweet white violet, harbinger-of-spring,                      clear quartz and celestite, flint and soft soil. i lay down in the snow                      and felt the cold.

                                                   i let myself fall open.

Author Bio

Nic Campeotto is a (gender)queer Southerner and aspiring shapeshifter currently living with their wife in Cleveland, Ohio. Their poetry and flash fiction have appeared in the journals Fiction Southeast and Cactus Heart, among others, and the anthologies Manticore from Sundress Publications and Furies from UK publisher For Books’ Sake. In 2018, their poetry was incorporated into the performance art piece “Haumapuhia Rising” by artist Lynn Lu. They can be found on social media (occasionally) under their name or @paperquake.