Erica Sklar, Wilmington, NC , “In Orbits”
It seems that we are in orbits that met for a time and are drifting away from each other, like the street between our buildings is the border of some undrafted territory that we are discovering now, separately.
"Neptune and Pluto have orbits that overlap, you know."
"You know that because you’re a scientist now, huh?" There is a half-smile there, and I feel an itch at the corner of my throat, in my fingertips. It floors me, how much we express with our pairs of eyebrows, the thin pallet of skin below them.
"Which would you be - Neptune or Pluto?"
"Pluto, I guess. Cold and distant, right? Uncommunicative?" We laugh, together, and then I say I ought to be going. Our kisses feel different now, now that I have an apartment fifty steps away. The dog goes insane when she sees me, and her insanity feels like my entrails, which have not been right for weeks now.
"So I’m Neptune? That’s the planet I can’t remember."
"That’s perfect. Now you’ll never forget." He looks, to me, like a cross between a duck and a bulldog. His smile is wide and his arms moved most of my furniture across the street. Later, he stopped by unannounced, and said, "I wanted to be your first houseguest."