Tuesday, June 8, 2010


He asked her to watch for him in her dreams.

He asked her to watch for him in her dreams. He planned to anoint himself with herbs—henbane and belladonna—eucalyptus and ylang ylang—before going to sleep. He planned astral projection if he could stay awake or lucid dreaming if he could not, either, anything really, just a state of consciousness beyond this one.

Later when the sky had gone still and indigo and the cat was sitting at the foot of the bed staring at her, her breath caught in her sleep and she opened her eyes—or she thought she had opened her eyes. She could feel his weight on top of her, his mouth open above hers, but he wasn’t there. In fact, only her husband was there, sleeping on his side and turned away. She closed her eyes.

She felt his hands on her face, rubbing wet ground herbs into her skin at the temples and across her forehead. She inhaled the wet green cannabis smell of smudge sticks and held her breath waiting for the dream to pass. Shuddering and warm, pleasure spread from her belly lower and tightened her chest and held her still against the sheets and pillow. When she inhaled again, she felt herself open with want and then reflexively tighten.

Against her tightened muscles she felt pressure and penetration. She turned away rolling onto her side. Hands on her shoulder and breath at her ear—the hands pulling her away from her husband onto her back—the hands on her thighs and then between them—she held her breath, turned her head away, felt breathing against her neck, moist and warm, long and carefully controlled, evenly measured breaths. She felt hands on her wrists, tight and hard. The hands tightened until it hurt and the space between her eyebrows creased, and then it was gone. She was left inhaling sharply through her nose, her ribs tight against her own expanding breath. She shivered and lying there, she felt a dappling of air on her wrists like the plashing of raindrops. In her mind, flowers, tourmaline green moss and ferns, leaves and vines circled her forearms, at each wrist a giant pink peony the color of the insides of seashells, the petals cool and soft against her skin.

Her husband woke and put his arm around her, pulling her close to him. He smelled her hair and his mouth found hers and they wrapped around one another. Their kiss was long and tender, sometimes their lips just touching, sometimes their mouths annealed to one another, hot and wet, their tongues playing at each other’s teeth, their tongues touching at the tip, their breath shared, their arms clutching each other at the waist, across the shoulders, his hand closed on a fistful of her hair.

He rolled her onto her back and she felt the flowers change into silver cuffs tight against her wrists. The forms of the flowers and vines and ferns and moss dissolved into serpentine engraving in the metal of the cuffs.
Later, her husband asleep and the night a brighter indigo under the moon, the pleasure returned and filled her body and caught her breath, but it changed, its edges pulling into itself closer to her chest and as it did, the pleasure changed into grief, heavy and choking, abject, its neck bared to a knife point she knew she held.