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  • Lena Drake

The Englishman

Updated: Dec 2, 2022

LA in the summer. Birthday party in mid-city. You wear a cardigan; wide mouth and cartoon smile. You say something about London, or Scotland, or some other gray place. I sit on your lap in the cab because “there’s no room.” We kiss in a dark corner of the club, hoping the guy I’m dating can’t see us. Your dancing’s almost better than your kissing. The lights douse you in blue; you look perpetually blue. Noodles near morning. You lean across the table, asking me intimate questions about my life. I ask you what your sign is. “Leo,” you say.

“Me too,” says the guy I’m dating.

Two weeks later: Greece. Flying fast and far for an Acropolis view, we say. You dig, always looking for something. I wander, always looking for something. We brush each other’s teeth in every Airbnb in Athens. An old man tells us Naxos is paradise on earth. We believe him because it feels good to believe. Sardeles on the sea; the night that turned to day; you mispronounced my name.





Paris in the fall. Like dogs, we piss on the best cities in Europe. You flirt, not with me. I drink, not with you. We bike home, you on the pedals and me on the seat. I laugh, laugh, laugh, legs splayed, cheeks drying. We fight. Probably for hours. I maybe admit that I’m in l*** with you.

The countryside. Same trip, different day. You thought I missed my train; you’re a lovely worrier. I agree to museum outings because I like hearing you talk. Drunk in an old family home, we walk--or careen--outside. We sit in wet grass and climb something tall so that we can be closer to the moon. We dance in the dark, you are so clear to me.

Midnight beside the Seine, empty wine bottles. You tell me we can’t see each other again. Outside the metro, T-3 minutes until I board the train, I ask if you’re sure.

Photo By: Kelly Balch

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