In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Luxuria, and: Faith, and: Camp
  • Despy Boutris (bio)


The secret to sin is to do itin secret. You & I learned secrecy young—

two girls taught to swallowour hunger—so we meet up

at nightfall, once we hearsnores & the last lights

have gone out, our houses darkas the devil. We walk down the dirt

roads, cursing this townfull of coal miners & farmers & churches,

cursing the way we'll likely never leave.Grass sprouts up

along the asphalt, the airstained with petrichor, & I'm guided

only by the hummingstreetlights & starlit sky. We find

each other at our meeting place, the lakesouth of me, north of you, each of us [End Page 61]

scrambling over the wet rockstoward the grassy hill & willow grove

where you've laid down the knit blanket.Walking toward you, I feel the grass & mud

against the soles of my feet, find yousitting in the crotch

of a tree, & as soon as we catcheach other's eyes, we're each saying Here

is my shirt, here is my hair, my hands,my mouth, take it, take me, right here, right

now. Your eyes glow like a glowstick,your jaw sharp as my pocket knife.

& you strip me, nearly strippingme of my similes as our breaths turn to fog,

the cool drizzle falling onto your curls,your half-shut eyelids, our skin bright

as the waning moon, the lake sparklingsilver. Your sharp thighs

shear mine, with the seawater tasteof skin, the scrape of teeth against lip,

fingertips meandering down spines, tracingmandibles, losing ourselves

in our lungsounds. Warm kisses pressto collarbones & shoulders & wrists, [End Page 62]

our breathing a windstorm, bodies beggingfor collision—some desire to rub

ourselves together till we makesome sort of fire. As your mouth latches

onto skin that hardly anyonehas ever seen, rosy even in this low

light, we gasp like people drowning,& I try to think of a word for the way

I want you—wildly, maybe.Like a monsoon. Though I know

that so much rainfall can cause more harmthan good, that what's at first erotic

then erodes—love collapsing like thehills that gave way after so much rain

& mud last winter. How too muchof something can turn deadly—like those found

dead in their crumbled homes. & so muchwant is sinful, I know, so we beware

of the fires & floods. We lie togetheronly in darkness, warm & wet as steam

as droplets of water spatter our faces,swallowing what we can of each other. [End Page 63]


I knew the dying was coming—knew her heart strucktwelve because I couldn't sleep,

could only gaze out at the hallway,past my door as it creakedon its hinges, the wind outside

the open window runningits hands over everything in sight.If I closed my eyes, I could pretend

it was my grandmother, runningher fingers through my hair,& I knew my father would call

soon, stranded at the hospitalwith his dead mama, not wanting meor my brother to see death

so young. I knew the lawyerwould stop by, present us with herwill. I didn't know she'd leave

my brother her rocking chair,& me: my favorite breakfast—her recipe for buttered biscuits.

Didn't know my father's facecould crumpleor how hard I'd sob, or the way [End Page 64]

my mother's smooth palmwould do its work of soothingme as we watched the coffin descend

into the ground, my grandmothermaking her way into eternal life,as the priest promised.

I wish I believed in eternal life.It's too much work to tryto imagine a realm without darkness,

no croakingtoads, nothing with claws.It's too hard to believe in her

cheering for me up above.But how temptingit is to have faith in her

floating like pollen above us,the clouds blurring her angles,her body all tangled up

with God's.


Do you want to try it? she asked,to see what it's like?

At camp for the...


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pp. 61-67
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