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One night when she was tipsy from moonshine she mistook him for her bed.

A most succulent derriere, said he.  She answered, Dear pillow.

At first, they spun like ballet dancers on a mirror and he would catch her whenever she lost her balance.  The season was delirious and he didn't mind her mother.  In homage to nostalgia, sensible Mother drugged them with goose with apple mushroom dumplings till their cheeks bloomed.

They knew how to be alone while together and together while alone, she and he. For each, there was no other.  He knew when to speak words she craved: crème brulee and butternut squash. She knew where to find his vision when his eyes were cloudy with sour milk.  He named her Precarious; she named him Invincible.  They knew their places on the map of their needs; they planted an embryo, mistaking need for desire.

All was well and good until Dark Red ran against Light Blue, knocking Blue over like a bowling pin.  For months she wept for dying children and slaughtered animals, wrung her hands till they were dry, refused his insistent body in the dark. Armageddon approaches like a herd of angry monoliths, she would whisper, Prepare!  But don't let them know that we know they're almost here!  There are ears in the chandeliers!

He would call her Timid Blueberry, Hormonal Hothead; she would call him Pugnacious Marmalade, Bitter Prozac.

The urge inside her stopped growing and one day he didn't come home. He is working for Red, she said to Mother.  They were on the roof, folding clothes, their voices competing with the battle cries of planes. The stones are coming.  Can't you hear them, Mother?

There, there, cooed Mother, it is only the planes.

Navy Blue ran against Dark Red and Red fled to Elba.

The man returned to find that his house was ashes and there were no signs.  Mother said the monoliths had come and gone, leaving a trail of cemeteries. Why didn't you do something? she accused.  He replied: How was I to know?

The man thought: how lucky I am that my seed died inside of her sloppy womb.




civil war


carol novack