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by Tara Isabel Zambrano

“Come here pretty woman."
"Have lots of work." I move away from my lover's war-scarred face.
"You smell magnificent."
"Yeah. Of pigs, chicken, and dirt.”
"Hush, just love," he whispers, his good eye adjusting to the smoky chill coming from the barn.
And my universe slows around a familiar heartache.

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We listen to the radio: the song he likes is on. I massage his hand while he tries to cajole my breasts. I push him away and he pulls me back. This time I let his hand go all the way in while radiating heat on his blind side. What reflects doesn't look like love, but something equally fatal.

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When the dark falls, we try to sleep, but his face is hurting. I apply the lime-green herbal paste on his serrated cheek. It feels as if the bone is covered by plastic.
"Does it hurt?"
"Not anymore. How are you doing’?

“- I’m just a wreck,” I laugh and he grabs me. His glass eye shines- untouched by the domestic, dank air as he moves inside me, the lime-green polka dots on my forehead, marking me his property.
We lie down again. Outside, the purple sky swipes its tongue over every mote of light.

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His marine hair makes him look tough even though he’s only as scary as a bunny. When he leaves, I stand away - my shoulders raised a bit, my hands in, and my head held between fists. I watch him fading into a black dot. A future of empty nights tightens the back of my throat. Everything smells of him and like butter in the refrigerator, I can name all the odors. And like every story, every life and every dream - this remains undone.


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