From the author: A stolen kiss can wreck worlds
What is a man’s mouth but a dark licorice island? A secret atoll of black licorice, cigars, red wine, and tonight’s roast turkey. His oral history. Afterwards I thought of men who die in wars or terrible fires, their faces lost beyond recognition. Isn’t it your teeth that tell them who you were? Then I thought of the dead Pharaohs, subjected by embalmer-priests to the ritual Opening of the Mouth. What sort of shipwrecked woman dares plunder such an island?
It was Joanne. She came into the kitchen, a crescendo of laughter and coffee cups rising behind her, then fading away. She went to me without a word. Her sweatered breasts brushed my starched white shirt.
Then she did it, plunged her sudden tongue in my mouth, entering me like a man enters a woman. I blushed. She gave me a crooked smile, co-conspirators now, then turned and left in a swirl of skirts and boots.
In her wake, I heard the wooden whine of tall, frothy, crashing ships.
This story originally appeared in Libido.