I said you were like a horse who was an old zippered suitcase & when you asked why, I said it was because when I was massaging the musculature under your skin, imagining how those parts must have once performed astounding feats & carouseled from caravan to caravan, I thought about what must have happened out there under the billow’s blow because I could feel your muscles flexing for the suspense of a suspended fall in the shroud of a shadow of a circus whisper,
& your nerves —those bundles of fiber— told my prying fingers of your elongated cells longing to be lither, they spoke of when you used to clench into silk cocoons only to open & bloom ribbons of elongated fabric & filament, your very same wilting tendons & ligaments once bent to contortion’s underworld as you twisted into arabesques, crucifix climbs, & human windmills that spun ribcage bound,
& just by running my hands along your spine I could make out the shape of what your regal equine posture was & I could feel all of the rond de jambe en dedans that you kept hidden like treasure behind the zipper,
& now that you are oh so very still you let me knead my knuckles into the soft dough between your bones & I tell you with touch that if you’d prefer, you can keep your Trojan secrets hushed under the striped tent of your skin
Ariane Mass studied English Literature at Carleton College where she received distinction and the Sigrid and Erling Larsen Award for her creative writing thesis. Her work has also appeared in Leopardskin & Limes. Most recently she has been teaching English and translating for an animal rights organization in Northern France.