Design by Stephanie Ung and Katelin Jaegers

Erotic Writing Competition Shortlist: ‘After the Rapture’

by C.T.

After the rapture, 
Your warm touch sticks to my skin like honey. 
I should be long gone, but instead I succumb to the night’s restless waking dreaming. 
I gather dust. 

Moonlit-soaked light creeps into our sanctuary  
And, as the night bows for you, 
Your sleeping figure becomes a marble statue – 
The kind that the ancients hand-crafted and worshipped. 
Their classical song comes to me as naturally as leaves on a tree 
Amidst their springtime torpor. 

The song tells a story about us. 
One that is not defined by the cracks in our skin 
Or the way our bodies, muffled and irregular, hesitate to fit close together. 
The universe presses heavy against us. 
I can’t breathe. 
I don’t care. 

I know there is a world outside of this room. 
But, numb, I make my way to your bed and forget. 
The song says; everything must die at least once. 
But, your breath coated in starlight, I refuse to believe this is true. 

I remember how easily your fingers can stain my skin. 
How your tongue burns into me. 
How your hands – stronger than they look – sit so perfectly on my jaw 
Under my clothes, 
Tangled in my hair. 
I remember the cruel way you tease.
I remember the taste of you – like fruits and cream on a summer afternoon. 
– like juice that lingers – like cheap complimentary wine. 
You would laugh if I told you. 

Finally, I remember that it is cherry season. 

Then, daybreak comes and your dark lips swallow the earth 
As the flutter of your delicate heart signals the day’s genesis. 
The glow of you in the syrupy drips of sunlight funnelling through the window, 
Creating intricate cobwebs across your skin. 

You smile and, not for the first time, I feel my soul emit a dreadful moan of hopelessness. 
You’re so beautiful. 
I wish you were dead. 

My body yearns. 
My heart yearns and suffers for it. 
I want to say,  
             Hold my breath in your hands, 
             Please be gentle. 
I want to say,  
            Every day, you bury me a thousand times. 
           Every day, I would let you bury me at least once more. 
You get up and pick up the pieces of yourself we had strewn across the room. 
I want to say, 
           My love, I would face the rapture for you 
But, at the threshold of silence, the song gets  
Stuck 
In the back of my throat. 

And you are gone.
All that is left behind; a still, human clutter. 
I am left to remember that anything else exists. 
It is cherry season. 
I wish to pit my own heart in an effort to somehow pry you from my chest. 
Has anyone both hated and loved as much as I? 

I stick my words in the honey-soaked sheets you left behind. 
Maybe I will tell you tomorrow.

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