The grains could never contain me.
I had always been a shape-shifting blurry little thing packed tall behind foundation slabs, their windows blown out with the shutters ringing loose, paint chipping off the front tooth. When the coastline birthed me, I was a miracle of wonder: pretty as a Cadillac slicked straight, my mother said. Daughters of the fishermen ran atop me, ribbons rippling in the breeze, pairs of feet driving down towards my candied belly, full of a momentum that had me wanting the snow. I explained by long way of lecture to the hills what it was like to direct spoonfuls of yourself into the hands of others. There was a neighboring boy I had liked and we traded weather forecasts as pendants of desire. Wind high today, flood lines low tomorrow.
One evening, with all the stars dipped neatly above us, I called my boy over and he came to lay with me. My mother made us chocolate covered strawberries and we barricaded the fruit between our bodies. I slowly confessed to his ear, thigh over thigh, my long-game: I had wanted to be a mountain and I would stop at nothing to become so. I knew there were steps I needed to take to present as a mountain and so I hardened my insides blackening them to licorice. I draped my body on ice, hoping it would freeze over or melt down. It wasn’t until I swallowed a house whole did anyone pause to consider that maybe my consumption lay beyond my spit.
The house I came to first held me spellbound. I lowered myself over its roof, loosening my hands around giving door-frames of wood and rotting glossed varnish. I ravished a bathtub clean in one audacious gulp and next made my way over to the pillars on the front porch that echoed onto the beached landscape. There I would sit for a week or two or three months or nine, hoping my hunger would diminish. I swam laps in my appetite for destruction, reclining, sipping its cherry taste through a straw, my lips tender as foie gras in the summertime. Soft uniforms of breeze had whipped me into a devotion that only the birds now could see, a feeding frenzy gone absolutely rogue.
The townspeople became fascinated with me. Newspaper headlines read I was a virgin daiquiri, all cream, no bite, stretching itself half-baked out in the cracks of walls. That was the last dare I took.
I spilled my way into the next thirty-seven homes rowed up pretty as pigs in a glass showcase, butcher hooks still drooling crooked off of my mouth. I choked down gardens filled with kale, celery, radishes, heirloom tomatoes. I swallowed one girl in my path simply because she had been there and I had little time to spare before someone would catch up with me. The village began to protest, construction workers bulldozing forks blunt into my ambered sides, the mayor frantically binding my chest. I tested this suffocation and stilled, taking time to do up my hair, pinning wisps out of my face. On the fourth day of silence I bubbled through twice as tight, yeast toppling pyramids onto each other.
Everyone evacuated. My mother and the boy ran parallel to me, adjusting themselves in a mirror of rupture. I had no more houses in sight. I stood there plush in the shadow of myself, a town buried under scoops of thawing sweetness. I had done it; I had become my mountain. Once in a blue moon I ruminated on what I needed to do there to get here, on things that needed to capsize for me to stand erect. I took a bottle of port to wash it all down.
It wasn’t until the liquid reached my toes did I feel a shifting beneath me,
a hot magma afterglow for thought.
Art by Bob Schofield @anothertower