Sitting in the dirt against the fence, your shadow and my body are an oblong stain, drawn and quartered between the earth and sun. I can’t remember how long we’ve been here or how many times I’ve seen your face. You say a word and my head can only roll slack on top of my neck. I’m helpless, staring at you, tracing our figure between the long shadows of evening humidity. Between your fingers you’ve trapped a cicada, a warm black jewel twitching gleams across your face. As you pull on its segmented body, I watch the triangles of your armpits contort in sympathy. I can follow the strain across your bodies like a dotted line, flowing from the black delta of stringy hairs on your forehead down to its ugly mouthparts and curling feelers below.

The heat of the day has warped our bodies. Your limbs seem long enough to reach me from anywhere. The creature, too, is distorted within the cage of your hands. As you roll it between your palms, the insect can only shake impotent in the prison of its body, legs tearing violently at one another like a crowd of gasping children. You open your fingers just enough for its wings to spread before closing off again, catching the insect’s head between your thumb and forefinger. You’re staring at your new child, cupping its body in your hands like a delicate flower whose sweet nectar is eager to escape into your mouth. Then you take a few steps and lay back next to me, dirt clinging to your wet arms as your body falls loose. The insect tumbles from your grip and lands silently between us, jittering in a wet patch of our sweat.

I press my arm out towards you, feeling for the dull hum of your warmth to remind me of our existence, but all that’s there is the irregular rhythm of the insect’s shell in black space. The three of our bodies lay in perfect syzygy, and in my motionlessness I become totally absorbed by you and your child, stuck helpless and small in the mud trap. There must be something that can free us, let you bloom. I imagine us stepping out of our bodies and, like it, leaving our skins behind loose among the weeds. Weightless, freed from the labor of our blood and organs, we float effortlessly out from the soil towards the yellow firmament above. Lost, I reach for your neck out of instinct, but my hands pass colorless and empty into nothing. The higher we float, the emptier our bodies become. We look down to the insect, but the distance has made his body impossible, our perception futile. Our faces press past one another a final time as our features dissolve into the clouds.