She bleeds scents and shows me with a knife. She scrapes the blade down the inside of her arm, a single red line sprouting from the touch. After a moment, burnt orange surrounds, creeps into the pores of my body. Lifting her shirt, she takes the knife and draws a triangle above her belly button. Lavender wings from the rift. Her shoulder is next—I want her to stop, end this mutilation of her paper skin, but I can’t bring myself to ask. Instead, I watch her eyes tear as the knife cuts a diagonal line towards her collarbone. Coffee. Her blood, drawn from different parts of her body, makes the room ripe with scent. She has nothing to prove. Who am I to inflict this pain?
Underneath her raised skin, in the space between the studded edges and where her smooth skin begins again, must hold a bubble of her scents, captured after the blood dries and clots away. I want to know each scent; want to know what permeates from behind her ear; I want to slice the side of her ankles, puncture the bottom of her feet.
For her, I am colour. My mood dictates the colours of the walls, my voice becomes the tint of her glasses. She closes her eyes and sees me as swirling light. She would never call me beautiful. Yesterday I was brick red. Today I am tangerine yellow. Tomorrow I will be the Sea of Tranquility; metallic blue, hazy and waterless.
When she loves me from that part in her where the colours are found, I am lavender purple without the smell. We set the room ablaze with our palette. We dip our fingers into the different colours and paint along the lines our bodies make on the air. She trails purple down my side and along my hip, her finger making an even mark; there are no brush strokes in her hands. I peel orange down her back, thick lines that do not match the slimness of her shoulders. I want to make my mark, leave a print that is brighter than my lip’s pale transfer. I want to crush hematite, that iron oxide, to stain red along her thighs or pull the reflectant coal colour of the moon to her cheek. Yet, I can only brush my eyelashes in gold and flicker them across her feet, leaving a brushed memory across her skin.
In the dark, we are illuminated—green stamps across my breasts where she kisses me after sliding paint-filled fingers across her lips. I look down to see the lines etched in her lip stain. Our bodies smooth maria and cratered highlands. By the morning, we are meshed colours, lines and brush strokes smeared and smothered. We are mirror images of splattered paint, my body on hers, a stamp.
The markings we leave; a scar/story.
Rachael Jordan was born and raised in Southern California where she still lives and teaches writing at a local university. She has an MA in creative writing and was the recipient of an Academy of American Poets prize. You can find her poems and short stories out or forthcoming in The Passed Note, The Northridge Review, and The Island Fox.