He has black eyes (red in the dark) (he makes love with his eyes closed always). Tears flooding his waterlines—a common phenomenon. They bloat all his secondhand books; his lush houseplants wither under salt. The coarse plates of his scaly skin eat through tissues and embroidered handkerchiefs, quick as a kiss.
Corduroy jacket, dark jeans, sneakers wrapped in brown tape because his claws grow faster than he can trim them. He’s so fake, friends of a friend whisper to each other in the street. Crocodile cry-baby.
In a support group for empaths, a young man sat across from him winks and a crystalline tear rolls down a smooth cheek. They go home together afterward, where they cry each other lakes, rivers, and other bodies. The downstairs neighbors write complaint letters about the water staining their ceiling.
Next there is a girl, her touch gentle like a butterfly landing on his snout. She says she doesn’t get sad, not anymore. True enough, his eyes dehydrate whenever he’s with her. He entertains the idea that she’s his cure, but he can’t overlook the blankness of her gaze. The wool-sweater-itchiness of his eyeballs gets old fast, anyway. She sticks a lit cigarette between his sharp front teeth, and he resolves to save up for tear duct removal surgery.
He has black eyes (red from secondhand grief) (eyelids always closed if he can help it) (the tears still squeeze through).
They all leave eventually, salt deposits on his unmade bed, unopened letters detailing the long existence of pain followed by the brief absence of it, and thank you, lover, for helping me carry this weight of mine, if only for a little bit.
See you later (alligator). After a while (crocodile). Xx
Avra Margariti is a queer author and poet from Greece. Avra’s work has appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, Wigleaf, Chestnut Review, and other venues. You can find Avra on twitter @avramargariti.
Photography by: Nick Fewings