Almost Like They Wanted It
–Camille T. DungyBecause she’d heard him laugh through new moon darknessand she knew he’d fallen and she knew, before she turned,he’d be crawling, like a crawdad, rock to loam—because she tried to love the straight back and neckhe’d erected to recollect the man he’d beenbefore—because she found herself adding up his usefulnesslike some kind of auctioneer—she showed himthe dark coils areoling both her breasts and all the waysshe bent and lifted, bent and lifted, steady, strong.She let him believe he was past due for a harvestand her hands were the right ones, now, to hold onto the scythe.
•She made quick work of pleasure. The boysmile bunked downin his eyes, she claimed. Her tongue found the place in his mouthwhere the teeth were gone—where he’d hold his corncakesuntil they grew soft enough to chew. History had bedded himin all of this—his own history and failures not his own.Before he’d tramped in she’d watched another man—a man she’d thoughtshe’d hated—watched his body opened, opened, opened untilblood had married brine. She’d watch that man be whipped into somethinggood for nothing more than fertilizing clay and she’d thoughtbuckshot would have been a brand of kindness if sprayed into himjust then. But even after his hard going, she did not miss him very much.•Anyone she chose could be shucked like surplus property tomorrow,but that hadn’t been enough to warn her off of picking him that night.Because she knew if she set her sight on nothing she’d get nothingin return, she’d walked with him. But because the night progressed so—because there were some clouds—no stars—no moon—he’d trippedover the branch of a dead and down tree. In all that darkness,there, without a moon, even then, she had not fallen. She thoughtto say so, but she did not say so. She did nothingbut say she was sorry for him. She did not use her mouthto say this. Could he not listen to her hands? They spoke softly,articulating her condolences, to his torn and bleeding skin.