Synaesthesia Magazine Thunder, Lightning - Page 8

Tongue Paul Luikart Paul Luikart’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Barrelhouse, Chicago Quarterly Review, Curbside Splendor, Hobart, WhiskeyPaper and Yalobusha Review. His MFA is from Seattle Pacific University. He and his family live in Chicago. She said kill Clay if you love me and he did love her, loved her more than he’d ever loved a thing or an animal or a person before, loved her so much that sometimes her face came to him in dreams that began before he could even fall asleep. Some nights when the hot wind blew into his open window he’d smell her. From out across the prairie, way out where the wind sheared the corn all night long, he’d smell her. Not the animals, not the shit in the fields, but her—earthy yes, a grainy smell, but with a sweet, hollow ping that he hadn’t ever smelled until he met her. He said he would do it. In the morning he’d trek out to Clay’s cabin with his deer rifle and shoot him through the heart. “Through the heart,” she said, “That’s nice. I like that. Through the heart.” She touched his chest when she said it, a rusty turned up nail of a touch, one finger upon which he hung his existence. “Bring me something. Something of his,” she said. “You mean like his hat?” “I want his tongue.” “Okay,” he said. “His tongue.” In the morning, prone behind an oak stump, he watched Clay step out the cabin’s front door and scratch his crotch and stick a cigarette in his mouth. The little puffs of smoke drifted up and into the morning fog, the wet air that spread itself as dew on the grass that soaked his legs and the front of his t-shirt as he lay there. The crack leapt from the chamber, bounding across the fields and rolling back. Clay, struck in the guts, tumbled off the porch and inched in the grass like a caterpillar, moaning his own name. “Oh Clay, son of a bitch, Clay.”