She was so tiny and immaculate.  She walked on your shoulders, on your back, on your buttocks and your thighs.  Afterward she did extra.  And you paid extra.  I treated her very nicely you said.  I wished she would take off her socks and walk on my balls until they hurt you said.  And tweak my nipples with her toes.  She was so tiny and you wanted to hug her and take off her clothes, too.  You would use a condom and then you would take her to a fancy restaurant, the same one you took me with a view of the city.  You would ask her earnestly about herself.  You wanted her to know that you loved her.  You wanted her to share the privilege, too.


no sex phone sex or excess

you slip back and forth a threshold

i cannot cross

i commune with projections

and fantasies of corruption

my reality shifts

between jello and concrete

i cannot feel you

except when we touch

safely spooned

the language our bodies know

when chimeras get our tongues


She would turn the key in the lock to her fourth floor apartment.  She would step out of her shoes.  She would draw close the curtains on the lights of the street.  She would reheat the pizza left on a porcelain plate on the kitchen table.  She would fill the coffee maker for the next morning.  She would tiptoe past the room where her mother-in-law was sleeping.  She would pick up her child and smell the dampness of sleeping breath.  She would take off her socks.  She would take off her clothes.  She would thankfully slide between cotton sheets into the warmth of her husband’s encircling arms.  They would whisper and secretly laugh at a private joke.


We would strain to touch one another across the distance of a phone line.


You urged me. 

It was an absurdity.  Had he seen you leave the cafe last night with the girl? Swarthy in white gauze with bare feet and unshaved armpits, the kind of girl that makes you swoon. She was wearing the delicate chain you secured to her ankle.  Was I being played? That first day I noticed his faded corduroys, the color of waves and seaweed. He sat alone at the far edge of the terrace sipping coffee, a newcomer with an aura of having been on this island forever.  We speculated.  I thought he might be returning after a long time, perhaps a widower searching for directions in the past.  You pipe-dreamed that he owned a yacht, that he would invite us aboard for a week of island hopping. You, the positivist, the one most likely to make things real tended to be the better guesser.  People wanted to be near you, as did I.

He asked about you.  He took me below to the cabin and handed me a shimmering dress.  Put it on.  A small table on the deck was set with a fine linen cloth, its edges lifting in a subtle breeze.  His silhouette against the silver sea lit a candle.  I want to see you.  My figure in sheer silk exposed by slanting fire from the setting sun.  We ate buttered sole.  We sipped cognac.  His lips were slender and taut and the fine lines at the corner of his eyes grew misty with tenderness.  I submitted each detail to memory. 


the silver sea

you tell me

you’re falling in love

it might mean

i’m not for you

in that way

you could do so much better

i’ve always known

i still love you and what we are

i give you a way

an eternal horizon


The next afternoon while we fucked you recounted the dampness, the odors, the slime, the crevices and the screams of the earth.  Later I described to you the colors of the sun refracted in crystalline glass. 

You were the same person.


Magical Realist Cafe

Chichen Itza

we slipped through a chain-link fence

as the bus sped off up a tunnel of night

one floodlight spliced the dark

a dog barked sharp

there was no going back

we crossed into woods beyond


startled awake, or was it a dream

tap tapping rain, tropical sweat

hunted prey on the ground

the dog, peering down

the dog,

the dog.

no questions asked

leading us astray

over damp silent grass

on invisible string we followed the dog

to a looming ladder of stone

into a void of sky

at the top the dog disappeared

we were held captive



spreadeagled before dawn

until dark drained away like blood dried cold

a symphonic mist rose

to purify the day


hours later, concealed in the trees

we woke again

emerging as tourists,

demigods in disguise


Diana Milia, 2023

Vermut Ataman/Passage du Commerce

bitter honey on the rocks

a fire in my place

Balthus pulls back the curtain

he was fourteen and i was ten

(if only i could stay this age forever)

adrift, on a sea of ice in suburbia

what the hell, Siberia

slipping into virtual passages

virginal commerce, shrouded side doors

a stage, in development

a drama, a dream, perhaps

a Freudian interpretation,

child’s play, a simulacrum, or a (mere)