• Tess Ridgway

This one boy

he smells

like the centipedes I trapped

in tupperware containers as a child,

I’d furnish them with leaves & twigs

but they’d seize up

into spirals

& I’d find them hollowed out

~ musky death ~

it tugs my nostril hair

like dried sweat

it’s the way boys on SSRIs smell


your body makes a nest of blood

rich in nutrients.

your body makes a nest of blood.



blood. love stinks.


he asked me to ‘check’

he pulled out but isn’t sure

like I can spot all our microscopic

beads of babies

between my legs

when I drink water while peeing

I feel like a silly straw.


Another boy, D. smells like warm Nutella or

the bubbles of fat in continental salami

with dusky after dinner breath

& he tastes like sugar

we swap pinches of saliva

we’re pulling taffy

with small kisses

like rubbing your fingertips together