My body lies, tells the truth,
but lies again. Sweet discharge,
then inflammation. You on top,

breathing as I receive. Delivery
insistent as vines. Once you climb inside,
those roots crumble me like sod.

Pent-up humidity after years of drought,
fluid held within like
a deposit gathering interest.

Everything else comes along with it,
once I let go. You: an impulse buy,
product I consume despite myself.

Afterwards: red, itching welts
along my arms and spine, areas
touched earlier by your limbs.
Swollen, as if I’d lain in something venomous.

Like poison sumac, you said. And laughed.
Around your eyes, contrition. Tomorrow,
I will drive hundreds of miles, as before.
My rash won’t heal until I am gone.

Image CreditRomina Farías

Leah Mueller is an indie writer and spoken word performer from Bisbee, Arizona. She is the author of nine prose and poetry books, published by numerous small presses. Her latest chapbook, Land of Eternal Thirst (Dumpster Fire Press), was released in 2021. Leah’s work appears in Rattle, Midway Journal, Citron Review, The Spectacle, Miracle Monocle, Outlook Springs, Atticus Review, Your Impossible Voice, and elsewhere. Visit her website at www.leahmueller.org.