My boyfriend sniffs the air. He will find me if I just stay still, and wait. It is difficult to wait. I practice my breathing, try to breathe without a sound, hope his poor sense of sight will allow him to bump into me, and see.
The soft, rapid sniffing gets closer. I am patient as an ant. Soon my eyes aren’t closed, and this confuses him.
He plants his long snout into my belly, and snots a breath. It tickles a little but not enough to make me laugh. I remain quiet. It’s hard to stay still. He worms his slithery tongue along that place that makes me feel frustrated and lonely when he’s gone.
Thoughts scurry about, I keep thinking he’ll know I forgot to take out the garbage. He knows how to remove my protective layers. He collects the eggs with sticky saliva that coats his tongue.
The stiff, straw-like hair of his bushy tail fans my feet, which perspire when he’s near. He is grayer now, a vast lead roof which covers the world like the lid of a soup can. We rarely leave his room.
Is this how we open each other? Is this how we will tear the top off things? When I belong to someone I let them train me, I let them in to make me, temporarily, a different person. This usually happens during sex when it’s easier to be a different person, sometimes.
He puts his hooks into me, plows my bushy fur with his nose, colonizes me until I am a hill of mud. Or his favorite: a solitary tree struck by twinges of lightning that flash endlessly, on the same spot.
He seems to diminish gradually in breadth as he finishes me, where it ends in a point—a grayness we have yet to talk about.
Do you want to know what grows here? Something sticky and subterranean and wild and that goes in all these directions at once and that someday will weaken the foundations of everything we’ve ever put our hearts into.
My boyfriend curls up clumsily between my legs, and sleeps. Since he is a very solitary animal, he can be easily awoken.
When we fuck, he rarely makes sounds.
Janey Smith lives in San Francisco, California. Her little book of stories, Animals, is published by plain wrap press (San Francisco, 2011). Her little book of poems, The Snow Poems, will be published by NAP (Indianapolis, 2012).