To Love Like This Half
Photo by Keith Ayuman
I cleave the bone given to me. The marrow, still damp from its casing, greets me for the first time this week. Meat is hard to find these days; a bit of fat left on the lower end of a rib, a clump of muscle sticking out of a femur’s center. Little girls, little boys… heaven must be so heavy now.
My canines protrude like they haven’t for the past twelve years. They sink into the delicacy, tongue slurping enough juice to soften a third of my thirst. The crack above the bed has failed to drip for the past two days. My throat is wet with another girl’s dripping. Water. It still cracks though, parches and stings like the sun does to a bone when it hits high noon – how the marrow sizzles out to find a wider, whiter crack.
He said I was a bad, bad girl. I don’t believe him. The tension in my waistband gave way to his hand, moistened by the slaughterhouse beneath us. After the fabric dips his tongue enters; a fish, all muscle, in search for air. You do not love a bad girl that way. You love her like how my father loved my mother. With his hands painting flowers all over her body; marigolds blooming on her lips, on the space between her thighs where his nectar found its way, anemones and cornflowers gracing her skin, dahlias confusing themselves for eyeliner.
It must be night now. The wailing below has stopped. Enough throats have been slit, and the men, now drenched in soap and musk, find their ways across the city where they greet their waiting wives and paint them rainbows at home. Maybe. I have not seen the moon in twelve years, though I know it still exists. He told me so, along with other things, like how everything outside is poison waiting to kiss me. He has kept me safe here. This is love.
I’m running out of marrow to suck. Dahlias are in full bloom now on my thighs. He’s a sweet, sweet man, but he has his flaws. I wait until I hear some scuffling below, a soft moaning, later some muffled scream. I forget sometimes how noisy these songs are and start punching the floorboards, until I touch my lips and find myself singing.
He enters the room. My face makes a fist out of his hand, flinching as it starts painting flowers on my leg. The bed welcomes my descent. Everything about his body is perfect. He sticks three fingers in my mouth, one for each throat he played with. Dahlias on each neck. Each finger a different flavor. Little boy, little girl, little girl… heaven must be so heavy now. This is love, though I have not seen the moon in twelve years.