Lamia

He doesn’t notice she only speaks in eight syllables. He never thinks to count them. She leaves a note every night under his pillow: the stars are thirsting for your light. He smiles and places the note in the pile of her words he’s collected over the course of July.

He never questions her words, just acknowledges them with his eyes. He never really understands them. Were they for him? Should he be grateful? Without his body occupying ½ of the bed, would the words still flee for safety on little torn-up scraps of paper?

She is always gone before the sunrise. She tiptoes home to the sun before he can ask where she’s been. The sun never notices her absence. He works tirelessly to keep sacred rotations.

She never speaks. Her tongue is a broken-down runway. There are no lights to guide her speech. Her eyes are bowls of molasses. They drip with feeling.

One night, when they’re together again, touching toes under the blanket of darkness, her tongue lights up the night. He awakens from his lethargic sleep to blinding rivers pouring from her mouth like vomit. Her gagging makes him uncomfortable. His hands can never ease her pain.

Please forgive me, I am not whole, the light reads.

She rushes to the door, leaving light dripping onto his hardwood floors.

***

The next morning, he finds her words abandoned on his coffee table.

Do you love me or the sadness? the latest scrap asks.

He places the paper in his mouth and waits patiently as it melts on his tongue.

The following night, he is unaware of her return. He only becomes conscious of it when he lays his head down on his pillow. This note left a mixture of symbols:

11815 North Sunset

With tired curiosity, he drives to this location. He finds a large puddle of light soaking the concrete, dripping into the sewer drain.

All drains, they lead to the ocean.

He bends over the puddle and smells molasses. He pockets her words to finish his collection, and heads home, careful not to step on wasted light.

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