Star and Quack

Just after midnight, she runs her hands through her black hair. Her brown eyes are watery and large and pretty.  She scratches the back of her neck–the moonlight is quiet, soporific, and they’re surrounded by the buzz of crickets.  The ducks are nowhere to be seen–he waits and waits to hear a quack.

She rubs her knees, keeping the mosquitoes away, and she yawns–he sees the inside of her mouth. He wants to be inside of her mouth. He wants to walk down her tongue, down her esophagus and sit in her stomach and let his new world be her organs.

She stands up and paces back and forth.  Her white dress is a lampshade, a shadow underneath or a light bulb, 90,000 watts–the outline of her body tickles his chin.

There is a breeze–strawberry scented lotion.  He doesn’t eat fruits, but he promises himself that he will go to the market the next day and beg for some.

She looks at him and doesn’t say anything.

He thinks he hears a quack, but it’s his stomach rumbling–a thunderstorm. The humidity sucks his skin–the sweat behind his ears cools his head.  She walks behind the oak.

She returns–she isn’t wearing any shoes.  Her toes are small and round and cute.

She starts to sing. He wants to kiss her song and hold her hand.  Her nose, wrinkled, and her forehead scrunches up and the crickets stop buzzing–her voice, like wings, and he’s in the air.

She stops singing and he comes back, landing on his feet with eyes full of Jupiter and Saturn and Neptune and satellites, and swirls of lunar gusts rock from pupil to pupil.  He has the whole universe in his head and she is standing right next to him.

She peels bark off the oak and makes a little tree house.  The front yard is endless. He wants to live with her.

He opens his mouth to say something to her, but her eyes are closed. She lies in the grass with her face against the sky–her bumps and curves give shape to the air. She is radioactive–glowing, humming, hot.

She opens her eyes and points to the night. He follows her fingertips and sees dropping stars–an astral shower, like fireworks, but there isn’t any crackling or popping or smoke, just silent sparks, and they fall towards earth slowly losing their luster.

She walks away.

She doesn’t come back.

She doesn’t come back.

He sees a floating orange beak.

He hears a quack. He points at the duck and looks around and realizes that he’s alone.

He walks away, picking up the shoes she had left next to the tree. He puts them in the shopping cart along with the rest of his belongings.

He is nowhere to be seen.

by Shome Dasgupta

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