Size / / /

I woke for a woman all tooth and whispered want. Like the oven she was

warm when met and cold when done. She was second cousin to God. She

kneaded me, and her fingers spanned the sun.

But then she chopped and cut. Nonplussed, I ran

away from the kitchen smell of cinnamon and cayenne, away from the

bedroom smell of thrust and come. Road iced with foxglove, with horse,

pig, cook, and cook's man. Never mind pursuit. I've no need for breath.

I'm faster than. Run, run, run, as fast as you can.

The river glints, a knife in the land.

The fox waiting there is wild laughter: is to ashes as petals are to

dust. Fur to blossom to this pure, this perfect, lust. Pursuit

clamors. Wind chews the water. Her eyes are the sun as she speaks of

trust. I leap onto her back, telling myself, perhaps to truly love

you have to risk being undone.




Joanne Merriam lives in Nashville with her husband, three rabbits, and a reproduction sword. Her fiction has appeared in Escape Pod, Brain Harvest, and previously in Strange Horizons. You can find her at joannemerriam.com.
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