Jessica Jo Horowitz
My mother will not teach me desert magic though she shows me all the others: the gentle chants of grasslands, a susurration of bodies entwined sweat-damp with dew. The gentle, tickling tongue of the river and the tender salt-kiss of the sea. But of the dry, electric roar of desert heat and desert spark she keeps her silence. My brother does not speak of it. Instead, I follow him out to the sands, hidden in a cloud of dust and grit kicked up by his motorbike, awash in the smell of leather and sweat and storms. I watch behind the fragrant honeysuckle as the pretty village flowers blushed dusty pink with shy laughter spread their petals for him. My hands are his hands sticky and slick, clutching at the vines, fibrous and strong, buried deep into the trumpet blossoms, fingers insistent; me, dizzy with the honeysuckle scent. I put my fingers to my mouth and lick off the after-taste, sweet and demanding, an earthy cry for more. I shall learn desert magic on my own, and go out onto the sands myself alone the bone sky dark and restless depthless, soft as a woman's secret, as the velvet of her pleasure and lay my blanket beneath a cacophony of stars. I go when it is moon-dark, no watchful eye awake to spy and tell my secrets. Mark me, dark skin atop pale sand, my eyes aglitter and aglow my body unlearned and unknown. I call Her by the names I heard, the secret, whispered names cried out in hoarse harmony, in rhapsody, in rapture, the sounds small, timid on my untried tongue, but She listens. She comes. Strewn in the sand, bare skinned and trembling myself an offering, She teaches Her own magic, a spark, a fire lit down deep in the centre, in the folded core of me as the sky above us opens and lets down the rain.
Jessica Horowitz is a Korean-American writer living in New England, studying circus, swords and gods. Previous works have appeared in ChiZine, Star*Line and Eye to the Telescope. She can be found on Twitter at @TransientJ.