In the marsh of many blooms there is turmoil on the horizon. Light the texture of mold-feathered stained glass creeps over its edge. She knows it is not long before the ripening, feasted-upon-by-larvae sunrise. Deep plumes of smokelike tar flow downward from the receding, fleeing, dying night, flowing between her toes, becoming the earth beneath: a marsh of many blooms. Its time too, like the night’s, is short.
The snake is with her. It flows thin and lithe like a scaled rivulet between her toes and up around her legs, waist, and neck until its black head and tongue are beside her ear. “I will show you another one,” it says. The words flow into her, inundating the small passages and submerging the small bones of her hearing. “Why do we do this?” she says but the words sound as if they are spoken by someone else’s mouth, a clipped tone crawling with confidence. A question that answers itself in its own sound. She tries to look around to find whoever said it but the muscles in her eyes are locked forward, locked on the image of a man’s face. It is middle aged, beardless with a cruel mouth. Deep shadows mar it in the brightening twilight. “As you have done, you will do,” says the snake. The man’s face transforms into a pig’s, skin sagging, shadows becoming blood. The snake flows outward, unwinding itself from her and flowing into a circular hole in the pig’s forehead. Its tail smears the blood on its snout and jowls, leaving behind scale-marks in red. And then it is gone, like the night, like words made of smoke, like the flowers that turn the faces from dawn over the marsh of many blooms.
Bound — Swan
Bifurcation — Shanghai