How the War Started

When Xerxes wrote again: “Deliver up your arms,” Leonidas wrote back: “Come and take them.”

Black eye. The left one. Stubble. Leather jacket and underneath
a black t-shirt with “Fuck You” printed in white. Buckled boots.

His car, named Zeke,
is a ’73 Dodge Dart Swinger.

Peeling pleather front seat, the foam exposed.
He puts his hand on my thigh.

I put mine on top.
His apartment is upstairs

and past pale green corridors with Victorian doors.
“Very like an asylum.”

Swords hang on his walls. Bookshelves.
A big unmade bed. Black sheets.

A stuffed raven on the computer.
I read the spines on the bookshelf

and turn into him, kiss;
pause to unlace my knee-high boots.

He ignites six tea-lights.
I set aside my glasses.

He unbuckles his boots.
I reach under his shirt.

He pushes me onto the bed.
We do the thing we came here to do.

Still, warm, and sleepy I sink
into his scent, and fur, and solid heavy limbs.

When he wakes to take a piss I move to his spot
and prepare my arms for his return.

First published in Residual Heat under my pseudonym Aga Black.