Washing Carla’s Back – 1 am

 Her back cries tears as I wash it,
Water running down in dribbles,
Over her shoulder blades in rivers.

The green linoleum tiles are peeling beneath my knees,
Her head lowered and drooping,
Hair drifting – long strands floating on the bath’s surface.

I use a washcloth to clean her,
Not daring to touch her skin on skin,
Just my thumbs escaping,
As I rub her broad back from waist to neck.

My thumbs plow through soap bubbles,
Sliding over each tan mole,
The whorls of my thumbprints burning into her skin.

The furrow of her spine,
Hills of muscle flanking each vertebra,
Her wet smooth flesh,
Yielding under my hand, under the washrag.

A bare bulb is overhead – turned off,
Three sputtering candles on the toilet seat,
Flames wavering in the window’s draft,
We are illuminated.

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About Avery Cassell

Avery Cassell is a genderqueer San Francisco writer, poet, cartoonist, and artist who grew up in Iran. They live with their Maine Coon cat, Lulu, and bake yeasted waffles every Sunday morning. Behrouz Gets Lucky is their first novel. You can find their erotic short stories sprinkled in various anthologies, including Best Lesbian Erotica 2015 and Sex Still Spoken Here. Avery is currently working on a book of more of Behrouz and Lucky's shenanigans, a memoir, and an illustrated early reader children's book about a eight year old transgender boy and his family.
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