The meadow considers the velvety slick on her skin, sips at its edges, trickles it into her pores, only a taste this time, she swears, until she falls in love once more with her own wet heft. The meadow umbers herself from the silken pool, plumps herself—besotted—against the dead, skin to skin, until she hates herself again. Eve shrieked and the meadow has hated herself ever since, has drawn the stain down deep inside, sworn never to drink again. She tries to make do with the blood of calving, of roadkill, of fallen chicks. But the meadow remembers the hiss of knife through skin, that lavish spill, that crimson burst of Abel. The meadow hums her thirst and hates herself, thinks dynasty and hates herself, murmurs empire, infidel, and motherland and hates herself because she knows. She hums her thirst and mumbles tyranny, whispers homeland and hates herself, trills liberty and waits. Glory she croons, Hallelujah she cries, and hates herself because she can almost taste it. The meadow sings birthright and hates herself, calls out shall not be infringed and hates herself and sings and sings and sings until she feels that velvety slickness on her skin, sips at its edges, trickles it into her pores, just one last time, she swears.
Tara Campbell is a fiction editor at Barrelhouse and an MFA candidate at American University. Prior publication credits include SmokeLong Quarterly, Masters Review, b(OINK), Booth, Spelk, Jellyfish Review, Strange Horizons, and Queen Mob’s Teahouse. Her debut novel, TreeVolution, was published in 2016, and her collection, Circe’s Bicycle, was released spring 2018.
The image is “Meadow with Poppies” by Pál Szinyei Merse.