234: Last Kiss

234: Last Kiss

234: Last Kiss

Last Kiss
by Jane Ebihara

First, in your seventies and alone, you read that those who
count such things say an average person kisses for a total

of two weeks in a lifetime. And you realize your two weeks
was up some time ago. Suddenly there is kissing everywhere

you look. And you learn that cows kiss and squirrels. Puffins,
snails, and meerkats! And you are overcome with sorrow and

an overwhelming desire to kiss—to be kissed. And you learn
that’s called basorexia and you have it. You watch the lips

of strangers in the supermarket—wonder if one would want
to kiss you. You know now that a minute of kissing burns

twenty-six calories and that a man lives up to five years
longer if he kisses his lover before he goes to work. You want

to tell someone that. And what’s worse, unlike the first kiss,
the last slipped by unnoticed—unnoted. It might have been

a spring day when daffodils answered the sun’s invitation or
an autumn day when everything else was burning. Or simply

a day you took out the garbage, did a load of wash. Then, someone
comes and takes your hand and you remember words

to a song you thought you’d never hear again and you remember
all those sunsets you forgot to watch and the smell of woods in rain.

And you remember the river, the river—how it presses
its mouth again and again to the swollen sea.

"Last Kiss" by Jane Ebihara, collected in A CONSTELLATION OF KISSES, copyright © 2019 Terrapin Books. Used by permission of Terrapin Books.

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