Surreal Portrait at Sundown

By Samantha Wallace
Volume 1//Poem

today the sun did not set until long after dinnertime, the first drawn-out day of the year. i sat for hours in front of the window and thought about the things we had done during the cold, rainy season of last winter. 

how on saturdays, we would stare at vintage nudes, sepia and corners peeling, for inspiration. you especially loved the way the women's bodies were so pliable: limbs cording themselves around the torso. out of wanting this limberness, you stacked foam mats and swept the floors in a yoga studio late nights, alone. you imagined that in your cleaning the grime imparted something precious to you through your hands and your feet. 

and how, on sundays, we would sneak into the campus photo lab, and your friends would practice taking nude portraits of us. i tried to be coy about the way posing for those photos made me feel. intoxicated by my own body on display for you, a deep quiet reveling in the shadow cast between my legs. 

how, on thursdays after class, we would walk to the Mexican restaurant on the corner and the the waitress would bring us tall margaritas, never able to finish our meal because we would already be drunk halfway through our escebeche y arroz, and decide to cross the street for dessert that we could carry out. you would declare you needed something chocolate, but leave with the strawberry tart. after I had fallen asleep on the couch, you would pick the strawberries off your tart and feed them to your cat. 

and how, after the first real chill, autumn's last spider had found its way into the tub. staring at it for long minutes, i killed it with Clorox, watched its legs cord around its body and then unfurl again. i was reminded of the fishing hook you had tattooed on your body after your father died; that first night, after a bottle of wine, when you lifted up your shirt to show me. the blueness of the deep curve, a ribbon of ocean tracing the line of your rib cage around to the place where the two halves of it clasp together under your lungs. the heaving of your breath like the slow tide that carried your father's ashes out to sea.