Her shoulders are bare, littered
with freckles from last year’s swim.
They shift into a map of years.
The faded spots blend until they
are nothing when scrutinized.
The darker more recent specks glow
like rich blemishes. I fear that
they will rub off on my hand
when I trace my finger along her spine.
I count, one, two, three, four,
connecting the dots. Her ribcage expands,
goosebumps ripple. Take them all, she says.
I start slowly, peeling each freckle
one by one. It will take a lifetime this way.
Faster, she breathes. Both palms sand across
her skin. Layers shed away, like bruised
petals on the floor. I rest my lips in
the crease between her scapula
and spine. She smells new. My tongue
now covered like leopard hide, holding
her new and old freckles, swirls slowly.