• Shawn McNulty-Kowal

He and I

I miss you – the taste of your lips. I can’t seem to remember what they taste like anymore though. I told you that after we spent our time together, I would drink wine and feel your lips on the curve of the wine glass as if I’d found and been transported to a space that felt a lot like a home. A sort of space I’ve never stopped looking for, but could finally share with you. My hands wrapped around your thigh the same way – like the last piece to a jigsaw puzzle you never wanted to finish even before you started matching pieces to empty space. I am in a garden somewhere in Valencia and I’m writing to you because I can’t remember the taste of your lips.

Remind me.

I don’t want to forget, but sometimes it’s memory that comes out from the dark one time too often. A memory of taste, but a memory that is fleeting.

Your lips are the softest lips I’ve ever touched-

Like moss that grows in an area that’s wet, full from sunlight. You were the first person to ever call me sexy and have me believe it – you helped me feel small. I think that people should remember smallness is bigness when you feel short, but sturdy – rightfully grounded. No one has ever helped me find my footing like you have – no one ever made it feel more justified. I’m writing this trying to remember the taste of your lips. I remember waking up next to you, noticing your brown eyes and wanting to touch the chestnut color that painted the area around your pupil because I knew it’d feel like drinking my first cup of coffee. Your breath was cool and it warmed my entire body. As your lips grazed against mine and your exhale filled my lungs, I felt electricity propel through my blood. Like you could cut me open and as my blood poured from my skin, the lights in street lamps would ignite and they would remind you of your way home and you would look into my eyes. You said my eyes were so blue that you could look into them for hours, mistaking them for crystals – perfectly severed. I wonder if when you looked into my eyes, you confused my goosebumps for mountains or you saw the future or you mistook the sky for the depth of the ocean.

I’ve read that blue eyes aren’t really blue – in fact, they are so brown, so dark, that the color blue is merely a reflection. I hope my source holds factual because the sky turns blue that way too and I hope you look into the sky and remember the taste of my lips.


I miss you, but I can’t remember the taste of your lips. Can you miss something you don’t remember? The answer is moot. Your lips felt like hot tea in the morning – a shock to your system. Your mouth dry from slumber, made wet and red from the intake of a liquid with a temperature so high, it could burn your skin. Hot tea in the morning. As the water trickles down your throat, it stops midway because your body is telling you, the tea must be cooled. Desire breaches on rationality. The tea is already on its way to its final destination and you refuse to spit it up. It is hot and it is nourishing. You swallow the tea and all at once or all too slowly, you’re awake. Your mouth is wet for only a moment, until it turns dry rather quickly from the heat left floating in the space behind your teeth.

Your mouth is dry – a dehydrated estuary demanding relief by means of hurricane – and you’re eager and longing for more hot tea and with each sip your body feels like it has been struck by lightning – as though something electric replaced your blood. The taste of your lips is coming back to me.

A sweet memory of drinking hot tea with you in the morning.



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