The scent of the river on his skin, late, hair and swimsuit wet from Barton Springs. Nine or ten at night, the candles dead. She’s fallen asleep or she’s pretending. It doesn’t matter, she’s nothingness, blue tulle and white dreams. He sheds the trunks, gets in her bed. With her face she seeks the warmth of the sun caught in his skin. Smooth hard chest almost bare of hair. River algae, spring coolness down below, gossamery sustenance, twirling iridescence. It’s loud inside his head . ‘You are full of noise,’ suddenly noticing her deep silence. ‘And drunk, or high, or both,’ she ponders without judging. ‘You are a strong woman’. ‘So?’ He doesn’t tremble but almost. It’s his way of telling her he’s afraid. ‘Shit, you’re not the one who’s almost fifty.’ Damn. Skin against skin, unique kisses. She stops. ‘Yes, it seems incestuous.’ He jumps back half a meter away, escaping. ‘Like mother and son???” His terror makes her laugh and love him all at once. She thinks, ‘No, like brother and sister.’ She means it. Like brother and sister is what it feels like. The skin is exactly the same, the curls, the primordial innocence. He returns to her and the story begins. It will be exactly eight times. The air lowers, breathes them, the earth rises to meet. A vast pool full of people left behind, both in the deep, dancing around each other, as if the water was a ray of sun and they water itself, everyone there, but gone.
Viviane Vives is a finalist of the Sandy Crimmins National Prize in Poetry and the Pesserof Prize in Poetry, a semifinalist of the American Short(er) Fiction Contest by American Short Fiction and a nominee for Best of the Net Anthology. Recent publications include Tupelo Quarterly, Litro Magazine (London and New York), Burningword, Reed Magazine, and The Write Launch. Website: shushchattymonkey.com