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*once I stood alone so proud
held myself above the crowd
now I am low on the ground…

We are wrapped up in his room on a January night. I remember hearing quiet notes float down from ancient speakers. The walls, bare and white seem closer for the dimness. The entire room is cast in golden, dirty shadows by dying bulbs.

He comes back in and tunes a knob. I hear the air vibrating faster with a loudening hum; the music is falling in waves. I swivel in my chair and find him naked, the entire room made closer by the music and the warmth of the air and him. He is looking down over his own pale chest and I am looking up, discovering his hands in my hair. He sings.

now what would you have me do
I ask you please?…

I hear his own low intonations falling in with the walls of sound beyond and inside me. His ever-present grin is gone, and I feel him in all his gravity.

I wait to hear. …

He pauses, and it is his voice, his voice and nothing else that I am seeking. He is silent and still above me, solemn. I know that it will break in moments, but I am relinquishing my sense of time to the sex beneath his bass, escaping me. The walls beat through the chair and I can feel the pulse of his temples as his lips come to mine and he is whispering through my tongue.

As if he knew that words were how I kissed.

now what would you have me do?
I ask you please
I wait to hear
your voice.
the word.
you say
I wait to see your sign
would I

*Lyrics from Suzanne Vega’s “Penitent