By Autumn Stiles ’14

Salamanders are crawling

out of your mouth,

moonlight held

in the palms of their backs,

tiny and black

bellowing breath after breath.

They’ve come again

and you’re frightened,

flushed like chilli peppers

rubbed on soft skin,

dark skin

your skin –

like salamanders

conjured from

your belly’s rotting wood.

“Back Beasts!” you cry,

but we both know

they always come

after love-making,

our bodies still glowing

with the glory of the tension,

each visit briefer

than the last.

Yet we keep

and the sun, it rises

and the chasm, it closes swallowing salamanders

chilling the flame.