"Cho, this one is going to be easy," says Cedric.
And maybe yes. Probably no. But she looks at him smiling all-smiles peony
bloom mouth & he touches her face & he is gone.

-

For days afterward she won't dot her i
or cross her t . paper is too blinding white.

She sits in class and thinks about potions and charms but it all becomes
his face in time, how funny is that:
just like a movie or a poem , it's all syntax exposition blurred lips back to those
ten syllables

or are they , in fact, numerals?
(roman,arabic,or?) /
too similar
"think of it as speaking in spitting, like you're spitting out pits"
but it's eternally true: cedric was horrid at mandarin

wo -- wo aiiiiiiiii -- wo aiiiiiiiiiiii
wolfsbane mandrake root: how to recognise
the poisonous from the very

the sadly mundane.

and in between she finds herself asking horrible questions:
when you died, did

it -- say --

did it

hurt ? oh baby oh peach
sugar dove.

in every language, it's
a for aphasia for knowing the words but they just won't come out &
b for brain , breast and bitter
then it's

c

on the top of all her papers, c c c C c c c c
but not
not for Cho :
no, No, both ends of the horseshoe point to him
look harder.

she asks herself: would it hurt to die like that, would it hurt to die as a big
strong boy ? golden hair and the only wrong you ever did was me
hao le hao le

--

The common room is full of whispers, then staring &
half-eaten chocolate biscuits. Papers dog-eared books.
Terry Boot carries her things from class to class.
Anthony Goldstein ties her shoes.
Roger Davies makes sure her gear is on correctly at practise, and says nothing
when it isn't. When she moves to undo what he's just tied, he presses his mouth
into the hollow of her cheek.
Michael Corner cries, too, and then
Padma offers her notes to copy.

this should have happened in winter, she writes instead.
if it had, she would already know
this static white

know how to dig her way out

& she tries,
Cho tries to pretend none of this is happening. soon she doesn't remember any
of it. every day is like: breathing for the first time, new life, rebirth, all that,
etcetera.
it's
(new pain)-- another memory, more
stillborn valentines, more half-dead
fumbling hands to touch her breasts & hips, more firsts
more seconds
more lasts.

in her dreams she makes love to Cedric just
the way he likes it -- the way he would have liked it.

and
that's exactly how it is when Harry kisses her: half-open slick with spit
something like regret & books and
that hurt of seeing death, of
touching death and
kissing its ash black lipless mouth
so quick
before you know it, you are aching
you are almost there

you are almost
losing your virginity to death.
"Why not?" Cedric asks. "I know some spells."
"Don't. Don't do this to me."

but
harry's mouth moves against hers,
distinct and brave and very much like everything else, all those
tiny things she has witnessed him do. (especially
up in the air, where maybe she--)

could one day,
with effort,
forget.

His tongue slips in.
More than with Cedric it has her thinking, and her insides thrill at the feeling:
she is more than 16 more capable than ever. it hurts. it hurts it hurts and she
knew those spells, she always did.

shaped those words

flicked those wrists & chose this.

now
her hands hang at her sides but in her mind they touch him,
almost circle his neck: "i really like you, harry" & it's not unlike
love but that couldn't be, cos

Kissing him is like breaking a berry under her teeth. She knows it's evil, it's her
first taste of evil, & god it's so sour she shudders. So sweet she cries.