I don’t like those plants, she said.

They grow on river banks and sand dunes and along the mouths of lagoons.

Here are my hands. See. Here are my shoulders. Feel, he said.

This is my back that bends and twists and straightens for you.

Take them out. Dig them up. Throw them away, she said.

They remind me of family holidays and old suitcases and one-piece costumes with scratchy gauze between the legs.

Kiss me. Kiss me. I want to kiss you. I don’t love you, he said.

I only want to feel again what it is like to be consumed.

Take this one rather. And this one. And this one, she said.

And plant them over there behind the long and the sharp and the poisonous ones.

Touch me. Touch me. Quickly. Here. Now. Here, he said.

I have a feeling that nothing inside me, neither my veins nor my nerves, neither my saliva nor my lies, will outlast this hot moment.

The sun is too hot, she said.

Everything is melting. Everything is running. Everything is.

Can you hear me? I am melting, he said.

When the sun comes out from behind the clouds, I want to cry. I want to scream. Because I can feel all my bones running.

Deeper. Make it deeper. Put your back into it, can’t you? she said.

I want to put everything in. All my thoughts. All my memories. All my flesh. And still have space for the rest.

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes, he said.

It will be up to here. It will be up to the top. It will be over my eyes.

Good. Well done, she said.

Now hurry up and wash your hands. Before everything gets cold.

Souterrain

He thought how terribly strange it was, strange and not a little unsettling, that the more he wrote, the more it seemed to him as if his words were on some kind of mechanical loop, some strange stretched storage device that played over and over in his head, repeating the same scratched words, the same hazy images and sentimental ideas, over and over, so that a poem about the notes he had made in a field (for a field)(with more than a nod to Canadian poet Robert Kroetsch’s collection of long poems, Completed Field Notes) (he had never made notes in a field and only pretended to, he with his eternally clumsy fingers and weak back), so that the poem and a play he had just finished writing about child soldiers and cannibalism (why is your work so dark? so dark always, a woman had asked him once after a reading, and he had not been able to answer her except by thinking, my work is not dark, it is hot), so that the poem and the play and a short story he still wanted to write, had not written yet, but would write, yes, about a boy with hands and shoulders and lies and saliva, who was not him, but who looked and sounded like him (because of his hands and his shoulders and his saliva and his lies), so that the poem and the play and the short story all had the words, ‘Deeper. Make it deeper. Put your back into it, can’t you‘ in them, and all three pieces had something itchy between their legs, and all of them wanted to feel again, just once, once more, what it felt like, to put everything in, to be consumed. To be taken possession of. Up to the top. Over his eyes. Yes. Yes.