The first woman I ever fell in love with had hands twice the size of mine with the long fingers I'd always wanted and uneven nails— she bit her thumbnail the most, the tip of her tongue peeking out the way it did when I taught her to soften the d to say "duro" and the d in her name.
The hair on her knuckles was paler than mine, the same color of the hair she apologized for not shaving the night she spread her legs for me. I kissed both spots with equal tenderness.
Grading papers, her thumb goes straight to her mouth, her eyes focused on some distant thought I can’t see, and she balances a pen between two fingers— blue or black, almost never red—she was considerate of her students that way. An unremarkable object rescued from the depths of my desk drawer, blessed by her touch, caught in the heat of her fingertips.
In the light from the window, dusty shades partly drawn against the sun to shield her eyes, I hear the snap of the nail she's managed to find. I am bursting, blue ink rushes past her knuckles, down the crease of her palm.
I lean forward, nails digging into the skin of my palms, willing her closer, my neck hungering for the marks on her fingertips. She won’t touch me 'til she's finished. Her thumb pushes down on the clip. I blink, startled. The pen still intact, poised over paper, it mocks me, nestled in the cradle of her fingers, dancing just outside my grasp.
Michelle Bermudez is a Latinx poet who is currently taking her MFA in creative writing at Adelphi University. She is the recipient of the Donald Everett Axinn Award for Fiction. Her poems are forthcoming in Persian Sugar in English Tea: An Anthology of Short Poems and Haikus (Volume 2), as well as the upcoming issue of Philadelphia Says: Resisting Arrest. She lives in New York and is currently at work on a collection of Spanglish poetry.