The first time he comes to me I am weeping deep, hard tears.
The night is a soft, slow murder of snow and burnt orange light from the streetlight outside.
Sitting by an electric heater in nothing but a torn skirt I am shame I am shame I am shame.
I am an anachronism in stolen underwear and steel toe-cap boots
I am the video of the sunset that we set to repeat at fifty times the speed so that it looks like the world is ending over and over and over again.
That night my skin breaks for the first time. Two patches on my shoulders, a pen nib of wet bone peeking through each spot. As I close my eyes he holds me, tears like aloe ease the burning of my blades.
The second night he visits me I am drunk, exhausted on the floor.
Outside the world is moving in late night monochrome.
I am a time-lapse of masked men burning the beak tips off newborn poultry so that they do not eat each other alive.
I am an underground cinema in Berlin where they only show Marx brothers films, and in some dark corner a masked man is agreeing to do something he will regret in the cold, harsh morning.
As I lie on the floor the bones jostle from my shoulders. It is an itch I have been waiting to scratch since time began.
He bundles me in to strong, loving arms. Nothing is OK, but that, in itself, is beautiful. I should be in pain, but the pain is not there. I lick my lips and find only his saliva, a patina of understanding
When Lob comes to me a third time, I have wings. Not great leathery sails but the awkward, pointed elbows of a Mesozoic bird.
I am a freshly chewed piece of gum placed softly on my tongue by my crush in an action that they will never appreciate the seismic quality of.
I am that ache that begins behind the eyes and travels down the side of the throat to the gut – like hunger but more acidic.
I am the bitterness felt on the tip of the tongue when its placed in the ear of someone who sleeps.
Then the tears, the sweet balm that runs down his face, that soothes the donut shaped marks where the wings shift through.
At times it feels like I am sprouting, a rare herb, a ghost orchid, a thirsty purple crocus signaling the start of spring.
My bones crack and splinter, pushed aside to make way for some beautiful agony.
The fourth night we make love. My vast wings wrap around his naked frame, casting us together in a cocoon of hot pink silk.
I am the crescendo of Beethoven’s fifth, something marvelous and frightening at the same time. I am the soft, strange afterglow that cushions the hearing of those present.
I am gender, negated. I am who I need to be, the divine cock and balls, a weeping statue, fluid and sacred. I am a rose caught in the rain, my head bowing ever lower as the water pelts my frame – eventually my petals meet the dirt of the ground to mingle with the sin of the clay.
I spin on a potter’s wheel. Rough hands squeeze and shape me. I become a sculpture of a bird, all slip and solder. I am the paint, the canvas and the brush – every part of a masterpiece.
Lob stares at me with pale green eyes. I part my lips and lie by the fire.
Stuart Buck is a visual artist and poet living in North Wales. His second collection ‘Become Something Frail’ was released in 2019 and his work has been described as “possessed of an astonishing imagination coupled with unique, musical, and mind-bending originality”.