Christina Ranon

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Moonlight on Shetterly Hill casts the glance of all glances. Red moon folds in my arms, on my dress, under my lying eyelids. I feel the pieces in me sliding and rubbing against each other and breaking open with oils. I am slick like sunrise opening her mouth to thunderclouds. Coyote wants me to kiss him but I don't know if I should.

There was only the girl, and the girl with her arms sighing.  She needed a kiss on her salted slug mouth.  It was her mouth, but it did not belong to her.  She worked the land of her mouth like a serf tending to the dryness of wheat and yellow-haired grains.  One day while she was working, the beast came to lap at her sparse ripeness, and his tongue was a wheat thresher for the field of her body.

It's dark here. The light will not open for me. I'm lying face-down with grass stains on my belly, waiting for the dirt to take me back, to eat me with its great dark lips. I had a dream that my tongue shriveled in my mouth and slid down my throat like sandpaper, and Coyote licked the wound on my chin and woke me up.

The beast was only a beast sometimes.  The girl would run her hands across his pelt, through the coarse hairs that whispered their hunger, until the bones of his ribs shifted with a music like sighing.  And then new hands would grasp hers and spread them wide, still hungry, but sating themselves on the pummeled wheat of exposed skin.

I have a garden in my dress. My petals open and close in sticky runnels, and bloom under the budding thorns in my throat. I ate a flower today; it tasted like bitter honey.  Coyote likes the way my neck arches so he can see the blood beating the skin. I let him kiss me, but not my mouth.

The girl had no home, only the wide plains of her body, the sharp mountains of flesh and bone. And the beast had no home, except his other-flesh and the promise of the girl's fine-grained mouth. He slept in the wooden pillars of her arms until they softened into wet clay that marked him forever.

When I breathe I feel my lungs crisping in their frying oils. Coyote's stomach presses against the bones of my back. His teeth gleam against my hair and the moon takes us, over and over, and his breath is my breath and we are crunchy together. He licks the salt of my shoulder and swallows. I am afraid to be hungry.