Patricia Wallace Jones

The Bluest of Lips

by Zachary Chartkoff

Decadence? Listen to her drip-drip sound.
Slip your fingers under the skirt she died
in. "I like sex crude,” you say. But the drowned
just shrug, giggle wetly, all glassy-eyed.
After death sex is never the same. Brush
mildewed hair from her head. Kiss the bluest
of lips, blackest of gums. Green hued breasts flush
as she bends to your mouth. “O! I disgust
myself some times,”
she gushes, literally,
“But sex with the living? I can never say
no, can I?
” Later you find fingernails,
the odd left eyebrow, left in the dirty
sheets. All day long there’s a taste of decay
in your mouth, of swamp gas and fairy tales.
Zachary Jean Chartkoff received a MFA from UNLV in 1995. As a result he now works as a nurse aide in Grand Rapids, MI, paying off his student loans. He lives in a small house next to a cemetery with his wife and three cats.