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my eyes quickly align
with each ripple of spine
as he stretches up and out
sprawling, branching, moving

each wrinkle of skin
laid out flat against muscle
I blink and switch my view
to his face, intensely intent

on the work he creates
narrow my sight and zoom in
his hands tossing the pencil
against each microbump of paper

the yellow wood sits slightly
against the indentations of fingers
the wrist bone juts in and out
as his veins pulse under olive veil

his elbows are ashy and dry
but otherwise he is smooth 
bones of his shoulders angular
bursting out of the canvas of skin

his eyelashes long, thick, dark
shutter open shutter close
black pupils dilate and dissolve 
in a puddle of shadow-brown iris

in the pupil there is a flash of light
hope and dreams transfer to paper
his eyes cast down shadows from
his mind, out into the world, onto me
-by alison e.


don't grasp out for me
if i can't do the same to you
watch me slip away
your fingers no longer touching
my skin

i'd like to bring you closer
i'd like to bring you to a state of trembling
shaking just waiting for my touch

stormy clouds wait on my horizon
he has a blue sky
we wait on each other's beds
for the same destiny to come to us

bring each other closer
to the brink of screaming 
holding on for dear life
as though the sky might eat us up
and tear us apart

don't grasp for me if I can't do the same to you
I'll slip away, you'll slip away
make me see your horizon
-by elli roberts

Thoughts, Stories & Such

Bookstore Girl

She blended into the night as I watched her cross my dark backyard from my bedroom window. I don't remember how it happened, but I remember every single detail of it while it did happen. She had wanted to spend the night at my house. I was fifteen, she seventeen. We weren't even friends. She didn't want to be my friend.

I was at the bookstore, with a friend of mine, Amber, and we were giggling hysterically, so much to cause the clerk, Cecilia, to walk over and ask us to either be quiet or leave. We had been flipping through pages of this book for lesbians. I was uncomfortably intrigued. Amber was disgusted but amused. She eventually moved on, quietly, to the romance section to check the backs of novels that featured amazingly good- looking heterosexual duos leading torrid love affairs. They were nothing but soap operas transcribed onto paper. I kept looking through the book of sapphic desire, giving the occasional "ew" or laugh to keep Amber swayed towards the belief that I wasn't at all interested. But I was.

Cecilia walked up behind me. Her hair was really short, a dark brown color with little red streaks through it. She asked me if I was just going to look and laugh or actually purchase it. Shocked, I instinctively shoved the book onto the shelf and said defiantly "Hell no, that book is sick."

I had been pondering my sexuality since I was little. I had never had any desire to have a relationship with a boy. My crushes were often on girls. The girl who was in sixth grade when I was in third, the one who could kick ass in gym class and make the boys cry. The girl who started food fights, the bad girl, when I was in seventh grade. The girl who sat next to me in my english class. The more I tried to suppress my feelings, the more they bothered me, constantly nagging at my mind. I could never get my homework done... I kept flipping though my yearbooks and thinking of my past crushes, wondering what was going on with me. I hoped to see their pictures and the pictures of the hunk- jock-type boys, and in comparison, the girls would be unattractive. But they never were.

Later that night, without Amber, I went back to the bookstore, fifteen minutes before closing time. I searched around for that book, that book I had laughed at. Cecilia peeked out from behind the storage room doorway. "Oh, so you're interested in that sick book?" I blushed. "You want to help me with this?" I went back to the storage room and helped her lift heavy boxes of books. She locked the front door, flipped the open sign, and started flipping through boxes of novels from publishing companies. "If you like that book, read this." She handed me a book of poetry by women for other women. I flipped through, as she sorted things alphabetically on shelves.

"Have you read this book?" I asked. She nodded, told me she'd read most of the material in the bookstore that related to gay women. "Wait, so.. are you.. I mean.." I mumbled. She nodded. "Aren't you?" I wanted to say no, but I just shrugged. She gave me a look of disbelief. "You should really find out." She laughed. "It's kind of important, don't you think?"

"I don't think I ought to be. It's abnormal. It's wrong." Then I remembered who I was talking to. She smiled, and said "No, it's not. You should be whatever you feel like being. If you have feelings for other women, then you should look into it. Trust me, it's not an easy lifestyle, but it's better to know who you are and be happy than to deny yourself happiness by deceiving yourself and others around you." She leaned over close to my face, and lightly kissed me. "So how do you feel? Was that so sick and abnormal?" I didn't say anything. She kissed me again, this time I stood up, this time we held each other and kissed for a long time, in front of the big window of the bookstore. "Do you want to spend the night?" I asked her. I wanted to keep talking to her. She knew about what I wanted to find out. She knew things I didn't understand yet.

We went back to my house. My parents did not think anything of me having another girl spend the night. We talked until two in the morning, then she started kissing me again. Then we went further. She called it "showing you the ropes." It was four in the morning, and I had just had sex with another girl. Cecilia got up, dressed, kissed my cheek.

"That wasn't what I meant when I asked you to spend the night." I said. She retorted, "but aren't you glad that's what it turned into?" She left, and I watched her on my back porch, putting on her boots, leaving them unlaced, trailing across my backyard into the night. -by VH assistant editor Beth

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