We sat on his porch not unlike old friends
while sunset splintered into night,
ice in our drinks clinking, glass on glass.
I’m leaving this town, he said. For good.
Then he sank to his knees before me,
and I eased into him the same way as a teen,
I’d wade waist-deep into sun-warmed water
after shedding my jeans on shore. How simple,
with so little time left, to fall head-first
into what needed no explanation:
his fingers tracing the ten-centimeter scars
on my breasts, the pleasure he took slipping
one nipple into his mouth then the other,
something my husband stopped doing
after my mastectomy. Some days I wake,
I said, surprised to find myself still alive.
I miss you already, he whispered, his thighs
shuddering against mine, the dark lake
of night swallowing us whole.
Afterward, I felt the full-body ache
of sadness and almost mistook it for regret.
I wanted to believe cancer had cured
that part of me that cared about permanence,
that another man drifting out of my life
was just a ripple on some distant lake’s surface—
a body of water my body left decades ago.
But when I looked at the horizon, I wasn’t okay
to see him shrinking to an invisible line.