While I wallow in waters alone, your tail shrinks into a stump below your spine. Some nights, we still wrestle inside a bedroom with papered windows, spinning shadows across the walls like pictures in a zoetrope. Our fingers corrugate each other’s shinbones, elbows, throats. We grope knuckles and mistake them for rosaries as our tongues grapple like fish desperate to fill the same mouth. When you speak of leaving, I tell you the world outside is just a backdrop. But we are not both amphibious. Soon calluses cobble your feet where webbing shrivels up. The last night in our bed, you strike and swallow matches, illuminating your body’s new inner workings. I claw at the nebulae that dance below your glowing, golden skin. I smother the stars, jealous of their heat.

Michael Alessi is an MFA candidate at Old Dominion University. He is managing editor of Barely South Review and edits fiction for Green Briar Review. His flash fiction has appeared in New Delta Review, where he was winner of the 2013 Ryan R. Gibbs Short Fiction Contest, and Mid-American Review.