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Lily Ladewig

Shadow Boxes

Let’s build a fire. A shifting location. A change of wind and I can smell myself. Like something foreign. And into the fuller fascination. I can see the Chrysler Building from the window of the subway car on the bridge. I would measure the distance between us footwise. I would pull this epic from you with my whole body. Beneath your bright palms my breasts might become a reality. While my hands, full of acreage. Are budding outside your open. Third story window. The dancers push their painted feet across the page.

I don’t remember you putting even one finger inside. Me: these burn blotches, the dresses I wore. An example of the body. The body wants what the body. Wants. Is it so emblazoned? Is it possible to be in a garden and not be in Italy? Each night we managed to consume. Two lobsters each. Apple pie à la mode. We embellished the margins with the city. To wake up every morning forgetful. City of fedoras. You might say it was trusting but you would veer wrong. Somewhere, the city of. The shaking of the bedbones. All I want now are your birds. All of them.

Have you ever seen a pecan grove? That was the one time I’ve been arrested in my life. The wet grass like drunkards. A fleur de lys of feeling. It was pressed. I was kicking. The comforter. They called the cops. I’ve been haunting you for hours now. The trick is to not get too gnarled up about it. Imagine rendering chicken fat. Turning to you then away. The overturning of your turning. The tailored shirt, for example. It can be worn tight on the body, or totally oversized, with tights and a pair of tall heels. I could say what you’re expecting. I could be a blond. I could keep going.

Let’s scare you up some drama. An 18th century peepshow. A typical entertainment of the time period. Take a look. Through this peephole. The dimensions pile on, revealing a poor paint job. There I was, fearless and standing on tables. Now I am something vivid. You are some thing. Seaward. What are whales? Why are whale hunted? In your sleep I start stealing your slow-ish motions. A puddle of pale blue on the floor. The most delicate patch of it. In the city their hands smell of oranges. Soon I will stop. Matching you stroke for stroke. I count the scratches on your back. I name them like ships.

This is a routine that I made up myself because it utilizes every part of the body. Almost like a window. You ask if it’s snowing outside and I say No. Blossoming. Yellow-glowing. Like a good dancer. You do it on both sides. These whales do not have teeth. They are the oldest true fossils. To be recorded on 35 mm. Is expensive. A cut-out of gray pasted against. Sea foam green and the infinite numbers. The baleen of the corset bending. I also cheap out on leggings, scarves, and denim. Increase the white-space. Is it out of alignment? Is it leaf-time yet?

This one is coming to you on its belly. Sleepless, star-heavy. Almost like a burden of fruit. I become a substitute or bottomless. You ask if it’s OK and I say Yes. Now I know, I am not waterproof. Something like I gave you. A thousand civilities. Oranges and citrons. I slip on something black. And a pair of heels that stand out. If you could paint an orgasm. This is what it would look like: wind again. I mistake it for your car in the drive. I take down my hair. I take my car to the field, the snow. Fills in between the lines. Of broken. Where the orchards were.