winter crush



I don’t know how to write a love poem, so thank God this is just

a poem. I avoid mushy clichés about how he is my precious gem,

how I swoon when he brings me Campbell’s and Gatorade because

I am vomiting for the fifth time that week. When we are together,

I am obsessed with my body—not how it looks in the fluorescent

lighting of my bathroom—but how it moves, or doesn’t move,

how my limbs shift almost robotically while he undulates beneath me,

whispering you have to ease into it. I cringe for days. But he knows nothing.

He doesn’t know why, when he scrubs my purple lipstick off his chin,

I ask if he’s ashamed of my trace. Why, when he grabs my hand and spins me,

strokes my jawline, murmurs that he loves my wit, my meek smile, I snap

that his sarcasm destroys me. And looking at him, I know that he is not destroyed

himself; no one would tug his curls or twist a steak knife into his perfect dimple,

scrape his body the way past lovers have scraped mine. My apartment

is soft, and warm, and outside, slabs of ice wince beneath snow boots,


Alexis Sears is an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a recent graduate of the Johns Hopkins University. She is from Palos Verdes, California. Her work has appeared in the Texas Review, Passages North, and elsewhere.