8 AM, Monday Morning

Early this morning,
you stepped out of the shower,
lifted your hair, still dripping
with tiny clean jewels,
and showed me the back of your neck.
You said you felt a sting sometime before dawn
and asked me if I thought
some insect had bit you in the night;

after all, we had left the windows open
to enjoy the cool breath of spring
and the whispers nesting down
in the oak trees outside,
so any manner of tiny bug might have
snuck past the window screen
and found its way inside.

I know what sunk its barb in me —
the scent of your soap,
a snap of lilac and lavender,
and under it your fresh-scrubbed skin,
still hot to the touch from the spray.

I ran my fingers across your neck,
searching for blemish or sting.
I didn’t see a bite mark,
no red welt or irritated bump,

but my fingers itched,
and my mouth itched for more
when I kissed the back of your neck,
standing in the bathroom
before you had to leave for work.

This poem was originally published under the pen name Gabriel Gadfly.
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