Bite marks cut across your forearm, marking
a half-circle below the elbow. The wound peeks at each
end—a yellowed crescent, swollen arc of flesh—
it has taken the shape of the alligator’s smile. Down
to the water, he sang. Come down to the water in your
white v-neck shirt and khaki shorts. And you listened,
and maybe you needed to clean the garden dirt from your
hands in the water. Maybe you meant to fall in, bathe,
the gator’s long snout replacing your too-old loofah
hanging in the bathtub. I glance at your arm, think
about his rough slide over the bank separating lake from
drainage ditch, how he lives there alone now, waiting
to taste your skin, see if you are somehow the same.
You say, He was just checking me out. Just wanted
to compare the texture of our skin. Gloat about his perfect bite.
Taylor Rickett received his M.F.A. from Drew University and has placed work with Naugatuck River, Stone Highway, and NEBO Reviews. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana, and splits time between fishing, teaching, and writing.
Image credit: Alexander Montuschi on Flickr
Read more from Cleaver Magazine’s Issue #9.