K Chiucarello

She split the watermelon in two with her jackknife, pulling the fruit apart to let the juice plow her hands, translucent trails of silk running over legs buried in the sand, pink crocodile tears to a small market melon. How do you think we go about this, I asked. Why don’t you show me, she said. She did as I suggested and she did so often. She sliced our melon once more so that the flesh tore apart into yet another perfect pair of smiling bowls for one another. She lifted the rind to the condensed milky air and the sun electrified its stripes, their pale greens and bright emerald accents zig zagging to polar ends. She examined the shell, checking for sand that perhaps jumped from hands to snack. She extended my half, the wet overlapping with mine, palms held out. She brought the fruit to her mouth and began to eat bite size portions then mouthful gulps then licks of mealy grain. Summertime is the currency of freedom, she hummed as the river’s water before us bore coins flickering in glittering golds, silver, and copper. A time for motors in the water, and hair on the bend, for suits drying off the line, she continued into a silence punctuated by the birds.

I took my fruit and I raised her gift to my lips. I was in the farmhouse when she arrived and put on my best bathing suit for her, a suit where the yellows wrapped neatly around my breasts and hugged at my curves so that when wet you could see every dimple I had accumulated through the great pleasures of orange wine and creamed cheeses, meats speckled with fat. I walked her along the fields and through the woods, past the first creek and outwards to the river.

There, a piece of pink heap fell to the ground, rolling itself in the dirt and the stone. We walked the river until we arrived at a section that buckled into smoothed glass. If you sink your head to meet the blackness of the waterline the stillness could easily swallow you whole. Beginnings are always like that, fast with no hiccups.

I turned to her and said, Watch how much I can devour. I can swallow these fruits whole and it’ll go to the very bottom of me where I can taste the dirt and the soil it came from, pull the seeds from between my teeth and count the towns it traveled through.

We stood in the river, the air brushing our backs with the paced breeze of a slow-trotting prize horse. Our mouths were full of birth. We waded in this beginning land, tucked away from the horrors of people, stout in our foundation. In these waters, it is a miracle that some things even start at all.

K Chiucarello is a writer and editor living outside the Catskills. Their work can be found in Epiphany, Hobart Pulp, Longleaf Review, them., and others. They are an assistant editor at Conjunctions and a reader for Fractured Lit. On Twitter it's @_kc_kc_kc_.