Work Header

Negative Space

Work Text:

At the Paramour,
the walls are white,

and graphite is a constant weight
on Mikey's tongue.

He drinks,
to strip away
slippery grey.

The tumbler held to light –
his fingers print the glass,
ridged circles of lead
reflection trapped
like bugs in amber,
their faint spirits thicken
on the inhale.

It's as close to turpentine
as he can get,
a memento mori
off kelter enough to settle chills
in, waking the edges and
outlines of his skin.

memory piggybacked on scent;
Mikey thinks of the first apartment,
dirty nest of sheets and blankets,
stacked plates, life encrusted.

But the art supplies
were always tidy, clean.




The walls here are white,
Mikey's smudging against the paint.

Charcoal imprints on the baseboards,
lined oval shadows mar
doorknob, light switch, a smeared band
at shoulder height where he leans
against the fridge.

At the end of the day, his bass strings
are caked with black.

Mikey avoids the shower.
He doesn't want to wash himself down the drain.

Leaning close to the bathroom
mirror, breath fogging surfaces.
He layers on eyeliner
trying to replace what he loses,
what he's lost.

With his free hand he presses
fingers to the glass.
The glass presses back.




Mikey evades sleep.
He won't lie down, certain
that when attention
wanders, when sleep blurs
he will reduce down
to carbon
grit and dust
mired in the sheets.

White sheets
reflect white walls
and he's the bug
smudge of black, caught.

And they
they'll wonder
where he'd vanished to this time
as they
marvel at the perfect outline
photo negative of a murder
scene, black on white,
wonder as
they bundle up the cotton,
as they carry the linens
to the laundry.