Andrew Squitiro



You were there, yes, but your face
was cratered with wasps, a few of them
squirming into their nests under

your dimples as we talked. It's a disability,
I figured. I tried not to notice. I still
kissed you, but cautiously—like a kid climbing

over a chain-link fence,
faltering as he straddles
its peak, unsure

of how to get down, unsure
of how to love you
without swelling up. I took Benadryl

before our meetings. I let some
nestle in my nostril
for an afternoon. I pretended

they were strangers, but after awhile
I saw them for who they were,
those past loves you let linger,

a bench of other boys
you neglected to forget. I pretended
that if I stayed with you long enough,

unquestioning, you'd stop seeing them too.
That it was one of those problems
that went away like a wound

you stop licking. But even once
I awoke and walked
my lips along every trail of your body to make sure,

I still heard them there somewhere,
sleeping in the deepest crevices of your skin,
the places I'd never see.








Some have read this piece as misogynistic, but I think it is absolutely the opposite. It's about how toxic insecurity can become, and how we might learn to live without it.