We rode to the foothills…

We rode to the foothills, away from the noxious odors and creeping things to the east. We rode in a small metal canoe pulled by lumbering buffalo. As we skipped down the rocky path sparks flittered about us like fireflies. You wore your hair down and tied it about your waist; hidden here and there were fruits the size of raven skulls. I plopped them in my mouth and the juice ran down my chin and stuck your stray hairs to my face. I leaned in to your back and could smell your must, bathed in heliotrope and enlivened by ceaseless competence. Your spine arched into my rib cage like a weapon.

I was, am, hairless, aside from my prodigious eyelashes. When I swallow ice cubes from your mouth my eyelashes flatten and trap at your brow. Small flying things catch; at night I comb them out. Your hair, on the other hand, was a landmark. It was the color of all forest fires at once. Your eyelashes were short and stiff like your breasts. When you wore your hair like this they were hidden entirely. Unless the wind caught at your curls. Then your snow white skin peeked through, blazing in the sunlight. I ate another fruit, black this time.

‘Do they know where we’re going,’ I asked.

‘No,’ you replied.

‘Do you,’ I asked.

‘Don’t be impertinent,’ you said.

Our trail was narrow and the bison, four in total, one behind the other, caught at the briars with their gaudy coats. Behind the thorny bushes were trees a hundred feet high. The buffalo were making breathy sounds so we stopped for lunch, champagne and ladyfingers. You and I fell asleep shortly thereafter.

When I woke I noticed the buffalo had gone. I poked your shoulder with my toe and you leapt up.

‘What now,’ you asked.

‘They’ve gone,’ I said.

We put up signs all about the place, except we hadn’t paper nor anything to write with so they were rather indeterminate. It was getting dark and you had goose flesh so I took off one of my robes and threw it over your shoulders from behind. The long arms swung around from the momentum and tied themselves together at your back. You knelt down and kissed my reflective pate. I took off another robe, they were lighter and lighter shades of blue fading to a thin silken robe of white against my hairless skin, and laid it down so we could sit. I lifted my remaining robes so my bare bottom settled into the silky textile. It tickled my soft spots. You crowned my head with your hand absentmindedly. Your endlessly long fingers pinched at my lips, full and red.

The moon was high and quiet. Someone came slinking up towards from a long way off, except the closer he came, the smaller he appeared. By the time he was within speaking distance he struggled to climb up and onto a mushroom at our feet.

‘I’ve come for the reward,’ he declared.

Leaning forward, you plucked the mushroom and ate it whole. You pulled his tiny hat, a woolen thimble, out of your teeth. Your grace and benevolence were immeasurable.

‘The stars are growing cold and hungry,’ I said after some time.

‘Just so,’ you replied.

Nick LB Mack is a carpenter living in the western United States. His poetry and fiction has been published online and in print. He’s almost almost always writing.

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