PORTLAND by Cinthia Ritchie I fucked the UPS man that summer I spent in Portland and the pavement glimmered in the heat and the cement looked so white it blinded me until I suddenly knew how it felt to walk in clouds. I was living in the psych ward but out on day passes, and all the aides said how well I was doing, isn’t she doing well, I was a model patient, except in the afternoons when I knelt in the bathrooms of post offices and blew off the UPS man, his skin damp and sweaty because the air conditioner in his truck didn’t work worth a damn. Heat in my veins, my mouth, my blood, he made me taste and smell flowers: blood reds and pinks, peach the secret shade of the skin between my legs. I would weep when I came, my wrists stretched tight over my head, palms opening and closing around all those colors. He never knew my name, only the way my hair flowed around my face and the songs that leaked from my mouth when I came. I told him I was a plant, a petal, that I opened when he touched me, but we both knew it was a lie, that I was nothing more than flesh, bones, a tongue that waited flat and heavy between my lips. When I got out, I spent the first night in his bed, awake all night listening to his chest rise as if the secrets of my life might be hidden inside his throat. When the room began to lighten, I slipped outside, stuck roses inside my clothes, those cool, damp petals kissing my skin as I walked away from him, down toward the river, where I could only dream of jumping now that I knew flowers grew from the ground and not from my greedy, yearning mouth.