by Charlotte E. Wilde

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Sometimes I suspect that you are some fanged, night dwelling beast because I felt you put your lips to my love and suck it out of me with one cold breath.

The whoosh of it leaving my lungs still echoes; the conch shell of my memory preserving the traces jealously to quench some future thirst. Yet, while that sound remains clear, your absence is only truly manifested in ribs.

The crests of those bony waves are a strange comfort. I breath deeply, in and out, so they move like the pale ripples of a tide under translucent skin. I imagine my palpable sorrow leaking out of me there.

It was nothing really, but it looms as an abyss, a black hole in the universe of my life in which I was consumed. In which I, carnivalesque cannibal, consumed myself.

At times I think I need it back, that love, lest I disappear. Disappear or remain transfixed, mirror-side, watching my ribs to see the rise and the fall of you.

Your absence, rather, hidden in the valleys between the waves.