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The Refracted Siren

The pond water was brackish and swallowed my body as I waded in. I was slightly frightened of being naked, as I was, from all that was said of snapping turtles, those that plucked ducklings from the surface like jaws. I pressed my toes into the green bottom hair, wading towards the deep until I could no longer touch the bottom and then pushed off and felt the cold water enter my ears and cleanse my palate.

The woman I love, her head bobbing like a channel marker, paddled slowly near the opposite bank. Her flanks glistened silvery like a dolphin's; and, if not for the flash of a breast or buttock when she dove or rolled, she may just as well have been one.

I pulled my body through the water with my hands, chaffing them against tendrils of water weeds, until I felt places in the cool water that she had warmed with her body. I felt her, there in the thermocline, and took her into my mouth to swallow up. As I raised my eyes to the surface, having filled my stomach with her contrails, I followed her movements onto the grassy shore where she lay supine. Not wanting to interrupt her repose, I played through the weeds until they became thick and buoyant like a bed.

I felt her on me in the droplets of water that pooled and evaporated in the dry air, some rolling from my belly down my sides and tickling my flanks. The heat of the day contrasted sharply with my chilly vegetable bed. I laid there under the sun, naked, sharing the sky with her.

©1993 Chris Abraham