To Not Take

You and I are split
infinitives, never-
ending: to not

break. We almost hit
a buck as he quickly
ran from leaves, skirting

dark, untaken

possibility, lucky mis-
take. We splinter—yoke

coursing in my thighs
impossibly, inextricably, in-
explicable really

to not take
your flesh in my flesh
down, hard.

We almost hit him—
the man who almost
took us—said No

but imperatives split: Yes,
this is the story of girl: me,
raped at fourteen—you.

We ran over antlers
streaking headlights. Smell
of my brakes—you—burning

hot scissors on your wrist,
shedding. Snake
from snake, you said.

I cooled your blisters
with a cup of water—a lake
deep as ocean if you let go

of the cliff.
You split me
infinitely: black flame,

scorched skin,
sheets. Your words

or mine? Your heat
in my thighs? I curl away,

I hid.
I knelt down.
I hit the buck.

I did—you didn’t
see—I took his antlers, twisted
them straight, split

his open mouth. The night’s scarred
no stays inside until it’s felt—
a seed body, buckeye-

lashes, clit—words
we can’t say—lips