One. In. by Nicole Scott

One. In.


There is an entire history of me
nestled between two drunk lips
and it gnawed me down to a welcome mat.
My rationale told me I was a dirge before
we met. I used to grind myself up
like cinnamon in my empty kitchen. I fell
fast like dust and rumbled to an echo.
I became so arid, so much
I couldn’t harbor the sweetness – so bitter
I sopped up oceans and spit them out,
and mermaids begged for their lives.
I write to you an honest note,
and out comes the blood. You
were previously undiscovered.
Instincts alert me of potential danger.
Drip, drop. Ebb,
retreat. This is my hymn for you,
to no longer be a destructive anthem.
My imagination made you a desert island.
And clarity made you an Earth.
I walk to you singing in the desert of my wake,
no longer faced with the fork in the path
between a siren and a story.


I carried my voice along the bank.
The current cradled me,
pulled my bravery into sandcastles.
Across the bridge, I deciphered
your burnished teeth.
They ground down my gold eyes
to silt. You displaced
my restlessness, submerged it
in your darkest ocean. You kept it
in case of an emergency. I forgot
I was brackish. I should have kept
my families nearer, a part
of my symphony. The water dripped
slowly from the hem of my jeans,
my eyelashes, into cold memory.
My organs, a wind chime,
clinked in your deliberate gust.
A sternum can only jangle so much,
but at least it is polished now.
The water curved my absent world
into your briny coast.
You found sea shells on it. None bore cracks.
Plucking them out carefully,
you raised them for the world to see.


I used to build my homes out of future people.
Skin as shower curtains, teeth as roof shingles,
breath as specks of dust in the den.
A palette of hearts I wanted to paint with,
be painted by. You were the favorite color.
It’s weird how I was always homesick
in my Pandora’s box. I had it all.
Had. My relationships, my broken shells.
I was surrounded by so much water and hate,
I feared I might birth a hurricane.
My skin protected the world of me from drying up.
Evaporating but never raining.
You were the opposite of coincidence.
My front door was constructed of bones,
my bones, my dry bones.
You didn’t trip on the welcome mat.
I had the utmost struggle letting – keeping –
the right ones in. One. You, in.