by Clio Velentza
See the bridge hanging in the mist, its sleepy arch, its pale stones held together by ancient mycelia and roots. In this ambiguous light it barely exists. See the swamp under the bridge, how it holds its breath. Its rough skin is an outright lie. It sits deep into the valley’s belly, wreathed with pines. See the woman in the swamp, her dress puffing around her like a face blowing out candles. See her sap-stained skin so fresh and butter-soft, how it refracts the dusk. Her eyes follow the dirge that echoes against the trees. Hear the bell high up the hill, tolled by the convert with the torn heart. He thinks of a woman with butter-soft skin and dark, dark eyes. His fingers miss the linen socks and thighs, his mouth the peaty curls between them. See the rip in the habit of fog shrouding the valley. See the man look far below, see him notice the dress blossom in the swamp. It is bright and sudden, and makes him think of a seagull. See it wane into nothingness as he pulls the rope with bloody hands. See the low sky above them, hell-bent on frowning.
Clio Velentza lives in Athens, Greece, and is a winner of “Best Small Fictions 2016”, a Pushcart nominee, and has been longlisted for Wigleaf’s Top 50 2018. Her work has appeared in several literary journals, and she’s currently working on a novel. Find her on Twitter at @clio_v and on tumblr at legionofwildthoughts.tumblr.com/.