You have the eyes of a martyr, deep and round, the way the paint cracks and the light glances off, full of terror and ecstasy. You have the face of an animal, heavy cow's eyes sad and lowing in a smooth-flanked face, and you are led crooked and starving as the best hermit, your throat an open grave, your tongue heavy with salt and rotten sweetness. You must go forth into decay, and the flowers of fungi will bloom upon your bones and you will be transformed. The soil will eat of you and you will be purified. You would like to be consumed, you are a stone in the stomach. This is not about food. It is about desire. You must fall upon the steps of the chapel, bite your own tongue, let the birds and the dogs devour you, oh, the sweetness of you, you must go forth. You must let go. This is not about god it is about being swallowed. You are in the process of undoing yourself, you are starving for teeth, you are hungry for bone. You are not a prophet, you are too full of lacking and everyone knows that prophets are full of honey and of locusts and of fire, everyone has seen the way their eyes shine. You are led into the desert unshod and unwell, all dapple-skinned, and your bones must be bleached clean, your body must be burned until it is lye and ashes, you must be cast upon the rocks of the sea and the salt must devour you and when you return all ruby and teeming you must be scaled and skinned and slaughtered. You must multiply. You are despairing of the night, and it is not the darkness but the length, both the length and the finitude, all desolate and populous with things you have and have not done. You are yearning for a marvelous fullness, you are mourning your own musculature, your starving cells, your hair like grain. You must swallow your tongue over and over until you cannot exhale, you must keep everything inside yourself until you are brimful and bursting. When you open the door in the morning you must ask yourself, is this the land that will finally transform you? Where will you be most alone? You must ask, where will the spirit best be able to ravish you, like a house overcome by flames, like the body of a woman who has left her body? You are in love and you are appalled. You must be born each instant and rot each hour. You must consume yourself from the inside out, gut first and gleaming. You must marry the body. You must murder the wife.
Margaret Wack has had her work previously published in Strange Horizons, Arion, Liminality, and others. More can be found at margaretwack.com.