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The Unkindest Kiss

January 15, 2011


Mike Allen is the editor of the magazine Mythic Delirium and the Clockwork Phoenix anthologies. His horror story “The Button Bin” was a finalist for the Nebula Award and his debut collection of short stories, Unseaming, was a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award. His other books include the novel The Black Fire Concerto and collection The Spider Tapestries: Seven Strange Stories. His poems and stories have appeared or will appear in places like Weird Tales, Best Horror of the Year Volume One, Cthulhu’s Reign, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Tomorrow’s Cthulhu, Transmissions from Punktown, and The Leaves of a Necronomicon.

The loop of her embrace
has no beginning.
Radium poison rings her eyes,
her teeth bright and sharp as prisms.
Her kiss wolfs down my tongue, my jaw,
her scales against my skin
flay me alive

Outside the muting veil
your memories of before
stretch faces, hands, places
against the surface
yet only the smallest particles
seep through, soul traces
reduced to half-life

Every part of her
saws into me,
another slit serrated open
with each stroke

You sought her out,
caressed her constant forward flow,
seduced her
(so you thought)
convinced her
that once loosed from her arrow
you could serve her
as no thing of mere duration could

When we begin again
I deny
(and can never defy the knot)
her coarsening skin,
the urgent click-tick of her breath,
how her fingers fuse like fins,
ivory rows behind rows sprouting,
glimpsed through the window
of her parted lips

Outside time’s flow
you never paused to wonder
at how quickly she agreed,
how demurely she encouraged
your hands?

Inside the bubble,
inside the abyss,
I am seabed sustenance,
my scars peeled
to grow back again,
a new limb budding to replace
each one torn off and swallowed.

© Mike Allen