The Beginning Stages of Connecting the Dots

     Your left arm scar shaped
     like a Titanoboa snake slithering
     down a bone-shy ravine shoulder
     to elbow bit me halfway

     around September Lake, jogging
     shirtless in rainbow-frayed
     board shorts, sweating out
     last night’s karaoke-picks,

     ale-rounds, and midnight diners,
     working hard to stitch
     distance fears into boyfriend
     paradise craving permanency

     of excess. “What happened?”
     I asked coyly, though I am not,
     outsider boldness tempered
     only by animalistic gravity.

     “Oh that,” you said, redressing
     the rift. “It’s nothing. Really.
     Don’t worry. I’m better. I’m fine.”
     “Does it hurt?” I asked,

     looking for any reason
     to touch you, to trace the cobra,
     to fill the ravine, to get
     close and stay closer, to become

     salve-healing administered
     through constant contact.
     “Sarcoma at seventeen,” you said,
     restarting the jog, rousing silence

     except for the bottom of
     tennis shoes scuffing rebel dirt
     specters creeping like parked
     cars in a cement lot flanked by

     spotless ponds and smooth trees
     lined with idyllic bark and vines.

     You waved goodbye with your
     right arm, keeping hidden for five
     thousand moons rougher, more
     malignant mutilations mutating within.

Samuel Cole lives in Woodbury, MN, where he finds work in special event/development management. He’s a poet, flash fiction geek, and political essayist enthusiast. His work has appeared in many literary journals, and his first poetry collection, Bereft and the Same-Sex Heart (2016) is available from Pski’s Porch. He is also a prize-winning card maker and scrapbooker.