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Lynette of the Violets, My Heart and All Four Humours Are Yours

Lynette, you took me to Greenwood Cemetery, my favorite

          hiding place, and you brought red wine 

and The Complete Works of Shakespeare 

          just in case we needed him, you said, 

and we did, of course we did—I read you sonnets and

          left your arm swirling in bite marks and crimson stains. 

We made a lover’s picnic by a regally named woman’s headstone, imagined her dress

          more long and grand than any queen’s. We make up stories about her 

affairs, laugh into the incandescent hum

          of our own oak-limbed tryst. Befriending all the spirits, 

we could shack up in any crypt for good 

          if the ghosts promise to protect us, keep 

the undertakers from finding us. I find you are always

          glowing in soft indigos and lithe yellows, you

surprised me with dried lavender, you wore

          a silk dress of sly dusty periwinkle, you wore the color of dusk

and kissed me in it like a sunset 

          would never bleed as bright as us. 


          your legs are longer than a Manhattan block, 

a perfect hook line & sinker of a nose. I just want

          to take you somewhere palatial to dance with you, 

somewhere grand 

          to the sound of strings, tell me 

your endless torso has sheet music 

          to accompany its soar and symphony of line, 

a loud psalm 

          for your spine, god, Lynette, your pole dance bruises 

with our sex bruises make your legs match mine. You don’t give a damn 

          about my job. You only give a damn

about what article on Julian of Norwich

          you can send me next, about illustrating our own bestiary, 

about penning our own Revelations of Divine Love

          You tell me all the grotesque, sliming endlessness

of all your organs aches for me, that you want to digest me, 

          that when you metabolize someone so deeply

you can’t even look at them up close anymore, they’re gone, only

          the desire remains and we

dream of each other wearing the night and then white and then speak of

          duality like a roadmap to erotics, knowing, finding 

pleasure in everything

          is what our happiness demands, and 

I offer you all my heart, my sanguine, 

          my bile, my phlegm, my choler and my melancholia, please

let me hear you speak forever, yes, I promise this

          is just the beginning, yes, my violet, I know

this is so good I don’t want to let it breathe I want to 

          gulp and laugh and moan and sing and swallow and

I look at you and you’re lavender, glowing, incandescent and endless 

          in the setting sun and I want to tip your neck back 

and drink 

          deep, and mine, too, open 

to your mouth, biting, gulping

          all the liquid syllables and blood-slick stories of us

inside each other, digesting each other, alchemizing our guttural

          into new languages for more, now, 

this, this, this.


LEIA K. BRADLEY (they/she) is a backwoods Georgia-born, Brooklyn-based lesbian writer, performance artist, and MFA Poetry candidate at Columbia University, where she also teaches Writing in Gender & Sexuality. She has work out now or forthcoming in POETRY, Variant, Aurore, Ghost City, trampset, Peach Fuzz, Full House Literary, West Trade Review, and elsewhere. She was nominated by Miniskirt Magazine for a Pushcart Prize for her lesbian werewolf short story "Moon Pie," and is the 2023 Featured Author of Anodyne Magazine. After climbing out from the coffin of her first divorce, she is accepting love and lust letters through her twitter @LeiaKBradley or instagram @MadameMort.

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