What started as a game, a hunt
for the curve of your fluid hips
the rough breakers of your knees,
the downy hollow between your legs,
became an abandonment, an abstract idea
of what you’d been only moments
before. Beneath the flannel blanket
we’d mended together, still echoing
with your laughter, its shape
riffing quietly off stones and ceiling plaster,
I searched, and called your name,
and found only my own breath
upon the window.
Now there’s nothing left but the taste of you
crackling in the sharp ozone atmosphere,
the air still holding onto your voice,
shards scattered like false breadcrumbs
or sheets snapping crisply in the wind. Sometimes I close
my eyes and I can hear you, singing
in another room, your voice beneath my bones,
a stone set in the hollow of my ribs.
Seven times I waited there, squatting
like a toad in the mud, watching the world die
and be reborn, listening, like a low thing,
for the sound of fairy bells.
And all I’ve learned is silence;
no one comes this way anymore.
Since then I’ve kissed the boy asleep,
swept the floors and lit the candle,
my hands growing rough with time and shame
and labor, my only comforts the falling
leaves and the softly sleeping earth.
Sometimes I wonder if you thought of me
as you went out to walk the hills
and stepped into a memory behind the path
of this world, into the home I left
behind to love you. I wonder
whether the air carried my scent,
if the cool touch of her skin was like mine,
if the hunt was as wild as I imagined.
In the beginning I was the pale girl
who dreamed of tasting sun-bright fruit
from the mouth of the darkling Queen,
my pleasure a soft sweetness wrapped
like the anticipation of youth
round a plump pomegranate seed.
Now I’m older, and wiser, my skin lined with care
and the remembrance of your laughter, holding
the knowledge of your kiss,
her delicate, arching hips while I wait,
my heart and hands bitten by salt
and acid tears to bone.
Lynette Mejía writes science fiction, fantasy, and horror prose and poetry from the middle of a deep, dark forest in the wilds of southern Louisiana. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Goblin Fruit, Star*Line, and Mythic Delirium, among others, and has been nominated for the Rhysling Award and the Million Writers Award. You can find her online at lynettemejia.com.