3. Night Sweats. Arise late in the month and catch you by surprise. After two years of fucking him, it’s over and every cleft is full of residue, skin smudged. You feel it first at the corners of your mouth moist with sweat and spit that somehow can’t be wiped away because you haven’t any clean sleeves and it’s too hot in the basement to launder. It is the first time you know you will leave someone you loved and it makes you briefly euphoric to be hale enough to choose to be unloved. You wait for September to take a clean shower and know he will go on loving you after you’re gone.
4. Inflammation. Avoids the joints which loosen instead, affects the abdomen and back. First, you will notice a taut line cinching your waist and displacing your bowels into your chest. You might think you have been lassoed but the infection is internal. You will find out where she and her girlfriend are going so that you can drop by. You will practice casual conversations in order to be capable of them. When everyone else strips down and jumps into the pond, you will avoid each others’ naked bodies because you are both horrified by the tightening line that bisects you into two bruised parts: sex and sex.
5. Delusion. A peripatetic flutters darkly onto the periphery and you chase the black coat and fables into a long walk. A month from now, at the end of the night after four false goodbyes and a pie she couldn’t eat, you will kiss her cheek over her bicycle still a mile from your home. But in July you won’t know that and will only write notes into the ether and wonder how mad and madder who is. You are.
6. Disorientation. When the train stops, you no longer understand where you are. There are only two verbs, to rush and to loom. Because you are a fugitive you try to look casually at all the subway maps and wonder why no one lists the city or, even, state. That kind of information would certainly help you figure out how to behave next. Your lover attends to you but you have deserted your body so she tends to someone else while you watch and get jealous. In a lucid moment, you have a bagel picnic in the park on the river and all but forget it until a year later.
7. Shock. Your tongue swells up and the walls of your throat kiss each other, perilously. You gasp for air and chew on the inside of your mouth, probing and measuring. It’s worst after you eat, especially fruit or drugs or the sound of going-right-to-voicemail. You carry your id everywhere and walk around the 24 grocery store for hours so that someone can call 911. Finally you are diagnosed with something vague and you are told to take two pills before bed. They make you flush and clamor to the top of your body– trying to scratch and tread back to the surface, sure you will die if you can’t vomit. It is the first time you have ever drowned in yourself and it’s the only cure anyone can come up with. You take higher and higher dosages to shorten this fit before sleep but it always requires a little lapse in life for you to fall. Every night you are sure you will die as soon as you stop trying to breath and every night you have to go to bed anyway. Soon you discover that it’s not the sedation that the doctors think will help but the expected inurement to mortal fear.