How Love Gets Its First Blush

By Izraq Jesen

It’s always the colours first.
The girl holding my hand places a half-eaten strawberry between my teeth. I consider how our lips must have the same tint.

Then the sounds.
Her boyish mirth when I pronounce her name wrong. Waan Aanong, I think I say it right but she can’t stop laughing. Red juice dribbles down her chin and I see a second sunrise.

The last lingering touch.
We’re lying on her bed, she smells of my perfume. The door is half open. She’s facing my way, her lips are redberry snare, I want to kiss her. Why can’t I kiss her?

Then I’m getting off the foreign soil and I know strawberry tastes different from her mouth. I roll her name on my tongue—AanongAanongAanong. I thumb the red fingerprints on my white slacks. I couldn’t tell her I hated strawberries, but the red from her lips sang divinity.

Izraq Jesen, occasional writer and full-time worrier, wishes to be reborn as a sparrow or a stag.