He hadn’t made the bed (for which he apologized)

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Carmina’s ovulations were a ferocious affair, blocking everything else from view with their white anger, like the child kicking over all her building blocks, the tears searing her face, her voice muddied by the rage that had gathered in a sudden black cloud on a blue sky; brooding and inconsolable.
When Carmina had her ovulation, how she hated men! Hated the men who were absent or inaccessible;
the men who were incompetent, every lover who had ever loved her, good and bad alike, and who had ever left her. She hated every man who had ever shied away from her advances, fear and mockery dancing in his contorted smiles as his feet yanked him back to the cowardly comfort of the commonplace; to the wife no longer loved, but who would always be there, unscandalous. Scentless.

Ovulations meant hate
meant hunger
meant animal
meant howling
meant denying
meant yearning
meant curled up and crying
meant not defying you are …
Woman

Ovulation meant donation
meant benediction
meant confirmation of your
woman –
recumbent
resplendent
releasing;

a feasting of womanhood

He hadn’t made the bed, for which he apologized, but it didn’t bother her. She trampled on Her blue sequined slippers as she climbed in and trampled on them once again as she climbed out, not that she had anything against Her, they were just in the way. Sex was good, and though she came several times and got the chance to scream her head off, her passion was shushed by a sadness she didn’t quite know where it came from, or where to put it, so she tried to stuff it into the crease of cloth between the two mattresses with her big toe right foot.

All the sperm She had not been able to summon, splattered all over the sheets now…
As he creamed her torso with it, lamenting all the millions who had got away, Carmina realized she was lying on Her side of the bed, wondered if Her nose was good enough to pick up the spunk and sweat deposited in Her absence. He fed her a clump of it with his forefinger, so she could taste it, properly, not like the last time, when he had exploded into the back of her throat and it was slung directly to her stomach lining, choking her along the way. She twirled it around in her mouth trying to think what it reminded her of…  She thought about the sequined slippers she had trampled on. If beauty were celestial and came looking for us under the mantel of darkness, the wife would be the one to hold the candle without the wick, where had she heard that or something similar? And suddenly Carmina knew why she was so sad some place so soon on into this Wonderful:

for although she had laid herself bare, he didn’t believe a word she said.

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(from The Red Room. Illustrations by L.W. Eden. Copyright © 2014)

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