Circle

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I liked you to draw on me. Firm, but not hard enough to draw blood, or to leave a mark beneath the ink. I liked you to draw slowly – lines and waves, definite shapes. I liked circles especially. Closed and neat and whole. Always returning to their beginning, smoothly predictable. You had a good hand. Steady. And you always asked – if you were pressing too hard, if you had strayed too near somewhere sensitive. You never made me feel weird. When I asked you, just once, to see if I liked it, if you would press hard enough to make me bleed, you did. When I barked our safe word (I did not mean to bark, but that’s what came out) you stopped. I liked that you liked it when I decided to leave one of your circles on me – a palm-sized ring just above my right hip – and have it rendered permanent by tattoo. I liked that you understood my frustration with friends and family who could not see the point of an empty circle. I liked that you got that my tattoo was too big to contain a name or an image. That it was too big to contain anything except possibility.

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I thought, afterwards, about placing your name or your image inside my circle but I could not, for there was no possibility of you coming back. My lovers now trace it with post-coital fingers, and ask me what has faded from inside. You would never have asked such a question. Always, with these lovers, I return to the same datum: they are not you.

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