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He'd practiced for months; built asuras and bhoots,
and the miscellaneous dark creatures
that lurk under toddlers' beds on moonless nights.

Tonight, under the new moon's black eye, he inhaled.
Tonight, on Kali Chaudas, the black vat brimmed.
He'd opened the special bottle that bubbled with
the slime that trails after slugs, that paints
ghosts of decayed leaves on stone doorsteps.
The slime that drips from rotting things,
that dead things pool into.

He measured and poured. Shaping, caressing,
he coaxed me into being. His tools curved my hips, scraping
the insides of my thighs to a wet smoothness
where, as I took form, his touch lingered.

Thy hands hath made me and fashioned me,
 an intricate unity

Glazing my lips with red, he fired me,
and burned and perfumed away the smells.
Laying lips on my lips, he
gave me breath and, stepping back, laid wolfish gaze
on what he, monster-maker,
had created.

Newborn, I blinked in the strange light.
He had fashioned my body so it would give.

and these things Thou has hidden in Thy heart,
as a lion Thou huntest me.

I shut my eyes against the strange fireworks; the rhythm and motion
flooding and frightening. Oh, to be home—wrapped in
the safety of the worms curling under the dying leaves,
the scattered white bones that were echoes of deer,
the sweet decay of the girl who had gone to fetch water and never returned
and reposed now, anonymous, beside a fungus-covered log.

He stiffened and shuddered.

I go and return not
unto a land of darkness and death-shade, and

"Come, husband," I said, and, gathering myself into myself,
unmade us, took us home. The ecstasy dissolved from his face
as his face dissolved, and I dissolved, and
together we melted into a pool of sticky rot

the shining is as thick darkness.

Meera is an engineer, former professor of physics, and mom.  This is her first foray into speculative poetry.  Her most recent literary pieces appeared in Rattle (poetry) and on the Wigleaf 50 (prose).
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20 Mar 2023

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