The Love of Death

Chris Menezes

At least there was no fire.
            No heat or brightness to sting colors into his eyes.
Bleak was a blanket that comforted him like crackling dry leaves,
            but now there was a warmth coming from the ground.
She looked the same as ever in his mind,
            held familiarity like ordinary dirt that swept the whole of existence.
They were once like asteroids propelled from some forgotten origin into void.
He could remember only flashes of green and vague wetness; the warmth from her blood    
            that would instantly turn cold on rubber skin.
She held it all in her very center.
Every day awake with him, every argument over having children, over giving life and not    
            taking.
Every shade of grey that slowly took over his face became as sunlight to her.
            She would have withered with the grass if he allowed her to.
He resented her compassion and was jealous of every cry that stole her attention.
            Calling her a whore he threatened to kill anything she set her gaze on.
He uprooted every tree in the backyard and spent hours racking the dirt
            picking out worms and squeezing them in his fists until they burst.
            She would watch him through the sliding door holding back every impulse she    
            had to cry.
She was held by her vow until death parted, but he would never part from her.
            So she embraced the emptiness around her.
First she tried to fill the space between the couch and the front door. She closed her eyes,
            dwelled on the distance: twenty-five hollow feet.
She sat and imagined her heart swelling like a balloon expanding in her chest down into
            her shoulders and arms, to her thighs and down her legs reaching the very tips
            of her fingers, toes and mouth.
Getting it completely out of her without it bursting was the hard part, but after weeks of
            constant strain
she finally relaxed enough for it to spill right pass her tongue
            like a spring of water.
Once the living room was filled it was easy to fill the kitchen, the bedroom, bathroom,
            and even out the doors and windows into the yard.
            She became one with it all
When she felt him approaching she would zip herself up like a vacuum again.
One day she filled the expanse all the way to the abandoned town.
As her presence moved down main street
            the streetlights flipped on one by one.
She moved into each store awakening it to life again.
            The coffee machines in the cafĂ© spun.
            The stoves flickered and burned in the kitchens.
The dusty jukebox in the tavern flashed and sang a melody that danced through the
            stillness and twisted around her swelling passion
            kissing and embracing it until it pierced
            her very center.
She popped like a water balloon. Soaking every building and street,
            she seeped into the soil and let out a sigh that rattled the earth
            and woke all the seeds.