We could be coy, but instead we are caught up crosses, warding off evil.

In the corner the band plays vintage Cassidy and you say, “Do you remember when you sang to me under the street lights?”

There was a time when I would have mistaken this for an impasse, a treaty, but now I stride off to the bar and order a triple. I keep telling myself, No one’s to blame. Everything should come with an expiration date.

The blonde guy you hitch to has highlight reels in his eyes. He holds his gin like a derringer and you seem to like that. It takes less than a minute before you’re lilting, laughing. Another four and his hand has found the lower part of your back, that space where your spine lifts up into the skin like a corded straw—knotted kite tail—tug of war rope.

You make sure to touch his cheek. There’s a stray eyelash. You offer it to him on your forefinger and he grins before blowing, grins before blowing, then blows.

I inspect the ceiling where the strobe lights are hooked. The walls are papered with crimson tattoos of Warhol and Reed and Norma Jean. They would look good on fire.

Love isn’t supposed to be so wicked. The heart needn’t be tested like this. And still I throw the first punch, the second, and all those others until people pull me off of him.

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