Sitar

I play and she dances.

That is how it works. That is it.

The heat of her day, and the hat on her head, and the crease of her waist and the slight boredom in her green-green eyes.

I thump down on the strings and an eruption of trees – pines today. Green like her eyes, but I place them outside her reach with petty twangs. She spins faster, catching the rhythm. A few coins clatter. It’s hot.

I throw gold notes at her feet, but her steps erase them – Nena the Cruel, the Cat Dancing. Give her a heart, and she will return a hard-scrabble scrap rat-tat-rattling around your rib cage.

She makes the devil jealous. The sun weep.

I fill the plaza with water, my fingers on the strings. She steps onto the waves like a birthright, her hem dry.

The crowds pass, but they do not see. This marble and stone corner of the world full of spite and spiders — full of amaranth and ambrosia. At the end of the day I will slide my hand under her elbow, and she will jerk it away. My desire-sweat drips, and she kills me again with green-green daggers.

I bring a spirit of fire into the forest, I build a wall of earth — it is never enough to hold her. A snake winds around the base of my spine and I want her and want her. I scream down into my hands, and the strings do their best to answer.

My hands move. Nena dances.

I play and she dances.

That is how it works.

[Story on Demand for N.E. White]

 

 

 

 

 

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