i’ll never forget the way the air smelled summer of 2016 dollar pizza, bummed cigarettes, cheap white wine you and your sweet nectar sweat. the way you looked all those glowing twilights, back against the sunset holding a cigarette between your fingers and then between your teeth. last i heard you divorced LA that same summer and ran off to Napa with the coming fall. working at your uncle’s vineyard and drowning out my taste with an off brand pinot noir you step, craft, and bottle all by your lonesome. i sometimes wonder if watching the grapes bleed sweetened their taste we met under the tyranny of an end-of-may-heat-wave the kind of weather that demands some degree of nudity, even between the distant breeze of palm trees. the season’s ripeness had freshly painted you carmel. gathered around a semicircle of run down sneakers, shaggy hair, and a single spliff, we made eyes and snuck away to roam the boardwalk, laughing as we slugged along hot, hungry, and high finally stumbling into relief at that kitschy corner joint that knew you by name. too sticky for mexican but you insisted a locals discount, we were on your terf and provincial pride knows no temperature so beneath the pressing heat we stomached oily mouthfuls of enchiladas and soft shell tacos. eyes lit up you spoke of structuralism, psychosexual stages, your own oral fixation, and other things i’d never understand by the time july rolled around the ocean was so blue it wasn’t blue anymore. the sun melted my insides as you tasted them, eternal afternoons spent dipped in your linen sheets. arched hips and shut eyes, only occasionally could i catch the nosy sun, peeked through the blinds, casting shadows against your face tucked gently between my thighs. indulged in each other's carelessness, thinking only about our lack of thought, the beauty of our impulsivity. it was during these languid almost slumbers that i realized i’d never find a muse quite like the crinkle in your nose. i would write about you until i ran the english language dry and even then i’d learn another tongue and do it all again. you told me you’d dream of me, dream of this, until the end of time in light that i would always be yours. i was so absorbed in the brief stillness of your celestial voice i forgot to ask if you would always be mine too. my birthday approached as a nursed cocktail of anticipation and avoidance. the end of an unending summer, of an uninterrupted innocence. we recognized the veiled urgency of our fading romantic hourglass for the first and last time sitting across the nail salon during the thirty minutes it took to polish those last glossy coats. in five you chipped every last bit of them off. said you hated the glamour of monochromatic fingertips. more than that you hated the breaking, the gradual wear of a fictitious perfection and so just like everything else in your construction of a deconstructed life you wanted it gone while it was still worth something, smashed to pieces on your own terms. by the time i knew what you meant we both had wet, dripping eyes. through blurred vision i watched as you took my gentle hands and said they were the tenderness you feared most and so i let you burn me with your blazing cherry thinking a homage to chaos might make you stay. you turned around and left me, rotting flesh to be preyed by mosquitos and sun-dissolved into the pavement.