It’s corn syrup. In the movies, it’s corn syrup
dyed red, the dark of it bucketing from gashes,
pooling on the floor beneath bashed-in
skulls, clinging to the white porcelain of a teacup.
It’s just corn syrup. I stand at the bathroom door,
pulse spiked with panic. The clawfoot gleams white.
I could bolt. But then you run a finger down my spine
and murmur, Get in, as my robe pools on the floor.
I break the surface, eyes fixated on the skylight above,
panting as I sink in to the throat, expecting a freak out
that doesn’t come. Instead, it’s dark and slow, silky with salt.
Warm. Thick enough to feel the shuddering echo of a pulse.
Your lips part like you can taste it on the air. Had enough?
you ask, and smile with teeth when I shake my head–
next time, we’ll need more virgins.
Next time, a bigger tub.
Erinn Batykefer earned her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is the author of Allegheny, Monongahela (Red Hen Press) and The Artist’s Library: A Field Guide (Coffee House Press). She is co-founder and editor of The Library as Incubator Project, and lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.