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Summer sand meanders around plump toes. 

We think about the inside and the outside and the shallow space between it. It’s warm here and Kelly and I dreamed of going somewhere warm but we were stuck. It’s nice to be unstuck. Her toes are not fat, they are plump. I tell her this often because she has a thing about her toes, and also every other body part that belongs to her. She wants to be less. I want to be more. I feel like a bag of bones, hate the faces in my knees and the points of my elbows and my ribs and collarbones. I want to be soft like her. She thinks this is a stupid thing. I think it makes perfect sense as I watch the summer sand meander around her plump toes. 

They are not like swollen vienna sausages like she says. They are small but fleshy, the nails painted icy pink. The water moves the ground around us. I think it could pull us all the way to the center of the ocean if it wanted to, and maybe I wouldn’t mind. Maybe I’d like the look of it down there if I could avoid the bony fish and swim with the flounders. Fish bones are tricky things. Chew a hundred times before swallowing, to be safe. A hundred and one if you’re paranoid like me. 

If the ocean took Kelly, she’d have to want it to. She’s strong like that. Not heavy footed, but grounded. We are here because I wanted to feel something, to see something, to soak sun into my skin and activate my dulled melanin. 

My summer skin is my favorite skin. When fall comes, I start shedding again. Summer is me returning to myself. This is us bringing each other to the place where summer sand meanders through the spaces between our tiny toes. 

Tiny because we are tiny–– the both of us, in the grand scheme of things. And maybe love between two people is tiny in the grand scheme of things, even when it's warm and feels like moon sand. Lips shaped like tulips, wide eyes with hooded lids, hair, sleek and black like obsidian. How could she want to be less?

She squeezes my hand and smiles, dimples dipping into her cheeks like poked dough all soft and sweet with confectioners sugar,

so sweet.

The summer sand meanders around our toes and she asks me if I’m finally glad to be alive.

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