the dam

1 April 2010

There is a woman at the bottom of our dam. Her blood makes the water black. I know it because I can smell her bloated body and her rotting skin and the poisonous gas coming out of her cunt. The boys seem to know it too, without really knowing it and they hover around the dam, sniffing the air like skinny dogs.

The boys swam in the dam until a few days ago. They wear shorts down to their knees and their torsos are so narrow that they look like they are eleven and not thirteen. Their nipples are the size of fingernails.

My nipples are nearly as big as my breasts. I lie by the cold glass of the windowpane and watch the moon becoming full. The bones of my hips are creaking to make a space for it. The house is creaking too, settling into its wooden frame as the beams contract with the cool of night.

In the morning I count the freckles across my nose and listen to the boys calling out to each other. The mudguards on their bikes rattle over the ridged bare earth near the dam and the dogs bark and pull at their chains. I cannot swim this week. Even if she was not there, I could not swim. I sit in my room and watch the boys through the open window. Her stink is on the breeze.

For two nights there is no moon. The house is moaning. The boys are murmuring in the room next to mine and I don't know if they are asleep.

Then there are stars again and silence. The silence of people sleeping, cows sleeping, fields of grass and crickets sleeping, given up on the hope of rain. But there is a sound on the night, a sound so low that no one else could hear it. It comes from the deep of someone's throat. The tips of my toes brush the cold wood floor and it feels like the surface of water.

Outside the dam is so dark that it is a mirror. My reflection is black and white on its surface and the moon is a fingernail clipping tonight. My breasts point down at the water and the mouths at the end of them are open like the beaks of hungry birds.

 


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