by Michelle Davidson Argyle
The darkness is filled with sound. The crickets rub their legs. Leaves dance. When he closes his eyes footsteps squish in the sand along the shore outside his window. Bugs bang at the screen. He wonders if she will come tonight, if she’ll slide her fingers against the mesh that divides him between walls and sky. He feels his chest rise, the bugs slamming like his heartbeat. They are attracted to the green glow of his digital clock, an unnatural hum exhaled from its insides. She is closer. He imagines her white skirt in the breeze as waves ripple to the shore. She will smell of hydrangea and cinnamon. He will raise the screen, will open his hands to her skin and love and light. There is no sound when her lips part above him. There is only a jewel at her naked neck, bright and round as the moon, a halo of fireflies, a promise in her throat that she will return tomorrow. Only there is no tomorrow.
When he rises he travels down the dusty road with the smell of rotting apples at his feet. The summer is hot and the sun is too bright. He shields his eyes with a level hand. He steps through long grass and finds the etched stone where she rests. All around him the cicadas sing.