The Blood Quartet / Naveen Kishore

I

Surrounded by the whispers of gestures made helpless by accusations she turned. Away. Burying her face into the mouth of the wounded pillow.

Having spent the first half of the night covering them with blood.

And the second half. Washing the blood off them.

In the morning. She hung the sheets. Out to dry.

She spent hours in the garden she had so lovingly grown.

Walking barefoot. For days on end. Then. One day. Without

apparent reason. When the sun was at its height.  She plucked

the thorns from her feet. And pierced the nearest white rose.

Petal by solitary. Petal. Making them bleed.

In the light of the sun on its deathbed. She sat. Rubbing her hands. Amazed. At how red they looked. 


II


Trembling bloodstains. Dark. Spreading. Like leaves that gather in the forest. Shadows that shield the light.

 Naked. Standing before the silent wall. Only her wounds to protect her from the world. Of men and women and children.

III

Bleed. Like the cock you slaughtered. Or thought you had. Till you found it beating its wings and splattering blood as it climbed upon the bed and died on your white sheets now scattered with feathers made red by the blood it had bled. You remove the kerchief you had tied across your eyes and touch the blood flowing between your legs. Another cycle had begun.

IV

She stepped out of one closet. Entered another. And was gone.

He got out of the shower. Dried his nakedness. Sweetened his mouth with the mouthwash. Sprayed his armpits and chest hair. With aftershave. Walked into the bedroom. Naked. Got into bed. Turned over to his side. Away from her. Put off his table lamp. And stared open-eyed into the dark outside the window.

She worried the nails on her fingers with her teeth till they begged for mercy. Later she flossed her teeth. Violently. Causing the gums to bleed. Put on her nylon nightie. Over her lace panties. All the while struggling for breath in the dark closet.

He swung out of bed. Having woken out of a nightmare that caused his heart to beat loudly. Looked for the slippers at the foot of his bed. Slipped his feet into them. And was gone.

She heard the gunshot through the closet door. And the scream of a woman. A death rattle of a man dying. The loudly blaring TV was doing what it always did. Play. Incessantly. To a room empty of audience. She scratched the side of her nose. Burying her self deeper. Into the other closet.

He slammed the car door. Shivering in his pajamas. The ignition refused to start the car. Its dull click replicating the sounds in his head. Where do I go? He asked himself.

She found herself getting sticky between her legs with fresh blood. Counting backwards. The days slip pass in a hurry. To get nowhere. A flood. Somewhere the other closet door slamming shut.

He tried getting into the house without any doors. Or windows. And failed.

She heard the flapping of wings. Bats. And then the rumble. An avalanche of mothballs. The closet. The one she had entered. From the other closet. Began to shudder.

He felt the first drops. Black. Cold. Sticky. It was raining molasses. Very soon he was covered in hives.

She opened the door of the closet. The pain unbearable. And found herself staring into his eyes. Glazed. In pain. Looking through her. His lips moving. A prayer backwards. Inviting the plague.

Naveen Kishore, publisher Seagull Books and photographer.

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