Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2016  Vol. 15 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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If the Girl Refuses

Lost in the city, the girl stumbles past docks tasting of abandoned boats knocking against planks of unhinged wood. The girl feels the scent of seaweed on the backs of her knees. She’s somewhere in the terra incognita of drunk, Scotch crashing in her ears, her bare feet discovering continents of loose nails, her fingertips touching the rusty scent of a man following her past warehouses bereft, even, of emptiness.

The man wants to strip her bare, push her back against splintered wood, tie her up in the mephitic hull of a ship littered with dying synaptic signals, losing power, snapped off from cells. The man will plow through the girl’s skin, muscle, and bone until her brain fevers.

The girl reaches the end of the pier. She closes her eyes to breathe. A scirocco gusts through her lungs. Her heart wafts. Dendrites of silver-plated neurons coil up from the ocean. One wraps around her waist. Another coils her neck. As if it’s a sea creature, it plucks her from the wharf, plunging her into the waves. Her eyes blink open. She no longer hears rust corroding her veins.

At the bottom of the ocean a glued-together horse, derelict with driftwood, nudges her spine.Together, they plod through undersea currents, the girl passive on his back, breathing only through contact with his hide. The horse knows this and trudges onward until he deposits the girl at the edge of her body, miles above the equator, in a hazy glow of a parasalene moon, by the shore of some other, impossibly tranquil sea. 

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