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OF ALL THE ANIMALS I PULLED FROM YOUR FRECKLES, THE FOX IS MY FAVORITE by Cavin Bryce Gonzalez

One night I was tracing my girlfriend’s freckles with my finger, tracking constellations across her chin and cheeks and eyes. Whenever I moved from one freckle to the next there was a tiny silver thread that connected them and before long her entire face was glowing.

The fox came from a constellation on her chin. Materialized from nothing, a minuscule thing pawing at her lips.

She wasn’t even surprised. Just took the fox gently in her fingers and placed it in a tupperware container.

Every night I traced a new constellation and every night our bedside farm grew larger. Tortoises and horses and sheep. She constructed pens and feeding troughs from toothpicks and match boxes. No matter how many animals I pulled from her freckles, the fox remained my favorite. I would watch it while she slept, sneak slivers of beef jerky to him throughout the night.

As nearly all resources are, the freckles were finite. There was a morning where I noticed all the light had faded from her face. It was perfectly smooth, pale. Unadulterated by the tiny brown dots I had once loved so much.

She told me, “I was always self conscious about those freckles but you made them beautiful. Look.” And we observed the tiny biome for a moment, my fox running in circles trying to catch chickens.

Then she took her fingers and drew lines on my shoulders and back, a thread of silver connecting all of the dots. From my body fell the tiny carcasses of a dozen birds. Mostly crows and ravens, one blue jay. The smell of death wafted from our sheets. I picked the blue jay up in my fingertips and placed it down in front of the fox.

My girlfriend wiggled her face into my hands and fell back asleep, pushing her nostrils against my palms. I continued watching the fox, watching it eat my blue jay. His mouth moving up and down, growing red, and I felt absolutely nothing. The magic had faded, as it always does. And the stars, the great constellations, just haven’t looked the same since. 

ARTWORK BY BOB SCHOFIELD

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