She looked at me from across the bus and my mouth was infinitely wet.
I popped a mint to give the wetness purpose. My mom had always insisted we refrain from sugar. Daily she told us “it’s more addictive than heroine.” Since college I’ve kept with me a bag of red-striped mints just to spite her. I felt addicted now, but not to the mint. My mouth was still wet.
Many people prefer the bus to the subway because you don’t lose phone service on the bus. I prefer the bus to the subway because you don’t lose daylight on the bus. We are all descendants of plants, but I can feel my floral ancestors deeply. I need as much daylight as I can get in the darkness of buildings that brush the sky, each competing to be closest to the sun. A streak of daylight cut across Her skin. I disappeared and reappeared in an instant. I turned the mint over with my tongue, its red stripes fading and its smoothness sinking into my cheeks. The wetness in my mouth grew.
The bus screeched to a sudden stop, Her body sliding across the plastic seats like a sweaty glass on a cedar bar. Her shoulder hit the metal handrail and Her face was directly across from mine. A little girl had dropped her ball and chased it into the street, the bus stopping just short of clipping her knee. A cul-de-sac erupted from the pavement in the middle of Times Square and Her clothing turned to silk. My mouth was dripping.
She was now behind the wheel. She was sitting across from me and beside me. She was the woman in a wheelchair strapped in at the front and the homeless man sleeping in the back. She was me and I was the air swirling around looking for a mouth to call my home. Someone say something so I can figure out where to put my new rocking chair. The bus flooded and we all drowned within Her lips, she swallowed me whole. My mouth was Her mouth and we were sea-levels rising.
I need you to see me.
I need you to see me.
Can anyone sea me?
We had almost made it to 24th and 9th Ave. A streak of daylight cut across Her skin. She continued reading her book, not taking notice of me once. Sweat crept down my neck as saliva swished across my teeth and I wondered, what’s the difference? I stared at Her hard, willing Her to look up at me and see that I was parched. But then I remembered that you can’t see vapor. My mouth was hard to find.
Next up 24th and 9th, stop requested. I gathered my belongings, a can of tuna and a pair of rubber boots. I wandered through the streets and wondered aloud. My mouth was wired shut by strands of yellow yarn. Tears went back into my head and turned my brain to mud. The Hudson River cooed. I stood at the edge and threw words into the water, hoping the lapping would turn the nonsense into novels. I gathered from lips to throat into my palm and gave them to the wind. What’s a mouth good for anyways?
Rain. It started to rain. It poured down making the river seem silly to think it was so special. And then, I felt it. I knew her breath like I knew my own. She breathed on my neck and her moist words circled my chin. I cried and peed and came, my bones turning to liquid. I could take any shape.
What a beautiful mouth, it says.