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ISSUE III

Shreya Gupta

UNDERNEATH YOUR LIPS

yesterday, before eleven: we sat beneath the soup counter / corners tucked in neon lights flickering in the horizon

the world is hidden beneath countertops; the skyline outlines from tile floors; the landscape stretches to empty coat racks

today, it’s still yesterday: my arm is over your shoulders and your eyes flash back and forth

my tongue is wet from padded silence: [muffled cheers and disco light pop]

we are fifteen beneath quiet sounds with mutters in shadows and closed clutching palms

fix your hair and pull down your dress, then touch sides, feign ignorance: screens glow bright as fingers lace/

             i will ensnare you in soft laughter and thin smiles, you picked the song— we tried once, then three, finally five? (i don’t care, really, neither did anyways)

                                                      twenty, zero-two: ginseng strip

from there it is a perfect debauchery because i practiced in front of a mirror mouthing words and reeling in feelings / keep the tension taut, peering eyes and nervous swaying (why won't you just give me your everything?)

whisper with me now, hold your face still, so i cup your cheeks gently, until those centimeters become shallow breaths

             we’re holding our breaths envisioning it— “what if i kissed you on the lips?

though memory runs past me here, cracked vinyl keeps playing: wavering gaze and pulling away, tight grips and feverish moans, fresh marks on sweet chiffon

our heads thrum of music, vibrations criss-cross skin: the party is over, and it seems none of us should ever win

today, it’s not yesterday / yet even still, i sit here, five feet beneath the soup counter

Shreya Gupta is an Indian-American writer from the Chicago Metropolitan Area. Shreya is an avid reader of manga, free-verse poetry, and short-stories; you can find her on tumblr @hercathexis.

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