In Its Entire Splendor by Tara Isabel Zambrano 

My lover is big, as dense as a neutron star, his eyes two cosmic lenses. When he licks my collar bone, his words roll off his tongue and settle around my neck like a choker.

“Are you ready for the roller coaster, Sweetie?” he whispers, shaking the ground, before he angles my shoulders and swallows me, his mouth opened wide, a row of white, jagged peaks, a quivering, slippery wormhole ahead.

It’s for my benefit, he claims. All of his ex-lovers are inside him, away from diseases and predators. I duck my head and let go. Past the carotid artery and trachea, I hold on to one of the ribs and stick my legs in. It almost feels like we are doing a 69 as I linger in the headstand position rubbing against his lungs, my aorta flickering as his, in its entire splendor.

I slip into the stomach and find the leftovers of his past lovers. Some couldn’t sustain the swallowing; others were not in harmony with his body. I can tell he tried to stitch some of them, but it was too late. And despite the muck and bile, it’s all beautiful: a shrine of love and hope that makes his blood more vibrant, his breath sweet, reminiscent of all. His body is a supernova where I am safe and warm.

His larynx flutters; it’s my favorite song. “Can you hear it, Sweetie?” he yells. I push my fist against his muscular abdomen. He laughs. I know what he’s thinking. No more compromises or conflicts, only true, unified love, opening and closing forever like the valves of his heart.

He says I am the strongest. I have a chance.

Tara Isabel Zambrano is an electrical engineer by profession. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Lunch Ticket, Storm Cellar, The Minnesota Review, Gargoyle and others. She moved from India to The United States two decades ago and currently lives in Texas.

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