Papier-mâché moon beams drench the streets with their opaque light. I’ve walked these streets every evening for the past two years, leisurely observing the cookie-cutter trees and sequined stars. These are solitary walks. Then again, the majority of my life is solitary. Solitary and submerged in cigarette smoke, putrefying apple cores left to sit on the windowsill, and yellowing curtains. The nights sparkle by, extravagant tinsel and gossamer evenings. On the other hand, days are all sickly light filtered through dirty windows. The foul light cast upon unwashed pans in the sink. Repugnant beams devouring flesh, laying tiny eggs in the muscular tissues of my arms like fruit flies. As though my flesh is no different from dehydrated orange peels and abandoned mangoes left to decompose in the fruit bowl until they are weeping. This is my life. These are my days.
Night is different.
I prefer damp nights. Nights when a thin sheen of rain can still be seen glimmering on the pavement, melodiously splashing beneath the boots and sneakers of passerby’s. Nights when the atmosphere draws its lips around you, daring you to turn yourself inside out.
Expose the most sensitive parts, says the moist night. Expose yourself until you are nothing more than dribbling lower intestines and unprotected nerves.
The silverfish living beneath the floorboards of my apartment beckon the same. They do not have good intentions. They seek exposure so as to nourish themselves on the various mucous membranes and phlegm’s my body has to offer. I’d much rather strip myself bare on the streets, allowing the planets and satellites to observe the intricacies of my internal anatomy.
My younger brother does not approve.
“The night isn’t always honorable,” he always says while tossing a rubber ball against the bedroom wall.
Thud, thud, thud.
“It can be a real risk. You know, offering up those parts of yourself.”
Then without fail, he recounts the time when he allowed the night to pull his pancreas from the tender part of his abdomen.
“It didn’t hurt much,” he says. “However it left a troublesome hole.”
Thud, thud, thud.
He tells me of how the night ran off with the pink organ and of how he spent the entire morning searching tree branches and unkempt alleyways for the stray pieces of himself.
“The butcher down on Wilkson Street told me that he witnessed a throbbing mound of flesh suspended above the rising sun. He said he watched it for a moment until it disappeared behind a chalky veil of clouds.”
“I would have loved to grasp it with my hand, cut it up, and fry it with potatoes and onions,” the butcher had told him.
“I eventually found my pancreas the following evening, pulsating on the beach, threatening to be swallowed up by the sea. A family of peculiar crustaceans had made their home within the oozing meat,” he says, concluding his story.
“That’s why you’re a fool to trust the night and an even bigger fool if you trust a butcher.”
I don’t ascribe much meaning to his story. The night has never stolen anything from me. I’ve always given freely and in return, it has provided generously. In fact, the night once gave bountifully in the form of long velvety legs and heavy breasts. A red-haired woman who gave herself up to me beneath a construction-paper gazebo in the most secluded part of town. Her eyes were celestial, mirroring the onyx expanse above. I allowed my tongue to explore every crevice and curve of her body as her swollen breasts and pebbled nipples shone luminescent beneath lunar glow. She had no name and spoke no words. I only recollect the hazy night and the way she slowly undressed, baring her most intimate parts to me. She was night herself. A form of compensation for the various blood vessels and victuals I had offered up. I never saw her again.
Still, every night I offer up handfuls of myself. Sacrificing myself like a fruit-tree awaiting a harvest, hoping I will again be rewarded; allowed to caress, explore, and penetrate the night.
Angel Dionne is a Ph.D candidate at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. She currently resides with her partner, cats, and parrot. Her work has appeared in multiple publications including The Aroostook Review, Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Penman Review, The Penman Review Anthology, Apocrypha & Abstractions, and Sein Und Werden. Her areas of expertise include surrealism and automatism.