by Kayleb Candrilli
After Hernan Bas’ Red Herring
What I have to tell you about nighttime is the way you always howl-scream through it—you’ve named it a banshee call and my kink is the mouth to mouth I give you in response, the way you gag and swallow and gag and swallow and scream until you’re quiet again, restful again. There’s such vanity in my saving you from yourself. Your tongue always tastes of absinthe and tearose and angelfood. Loving you is gourmet. Loving you is running the gauntlet. Loving you is serving up my flesh on a platter and hoping you remember how kind I am to you when you sleep. Whether you do or don’t is all lost in how I turn my bones into the powder you want to blow. Is it taboo to use me like this if I’ve decided martyrdom looks good on me? What I mean to say is: it’s grey outside and I want to swallow a light bulb because I’m so hungry and I want to see inside of myself. If your body is a mausoleum mine might just be an urn. What I mean to say is: I need some sustenance that’s made of conviction, or cantaloupe, or copper wire babushkaed around a jade marble that I know to be your eye. I am trying to live with myself when all that was sharp has been ground down, forced underground. If this is becoming an anthem, what I mean to say is: I have no need for the opera, which is your howling, the sound ricocheting off every wall and out the window. What I mean to say is: Quitting is sacred. Quitting is cutlass. Quitting is letting you scream and scream in your sleep until we both plateau.
Kayleb Rae Candrilli is author of What Runs Over, winner of the 2016 Pamet River Prize and forthcoming with YesYes Books. They also serve as the non-fiction editor of the Black Warrior Review and are published or forthcoming in Rattle, Puerto del Sol, Booth, CutBank, Muzzle, The New Orleans Review, and others. You can read more of their work here.
Photo Credit: Diya Chaudhuri