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.