I meet him while he’s serving tables in a restaurant near the Oper in Vienna. It’s at the ATM down the street where I invite him for coffee at my hotel: His hair is black and slicked back, and his soccer jacket is slightly dirty. He looks like the type of man that could hurt a woman.

In the room, I feel his flesh — and the skin isn’t right. It’s a catfish skin, cutting my hand with an arm’s sharp fin, blood wash shining against a grey mottled body, blood tasting of metal pennies soaked in milk or like sweat on a chest made wet by the sun.

He kisses me, and I watch the ghost of my husband grinning down at me, memories dripping from a komodo mouth, and I laugh, because he does not know that I am made of air: A bird flies away from him, from greedy hands, feathers snapping like window glass, a thousand cracks blossoming in a lamp’s haloed light.

bird in flight - calio

 


Gwendolyn EdwardA nonfiction, poetry, and fiction writer, GWENDOLYN EDWARD enjoys writing prose that challenges genre form and convention because she likes to pick fights with editors. Her nonfiction has appeared in Crab Orchard Review, The Citron Review, and Vine Leaves, among others. She received her MA in Creative Writing from the University of North Texas, and she is currently pursuing a MFA at Bennington. She works with Fifth Wednesday Journal as an assistant nonfiction editor.

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