Sand Through a Sieve

By Natasha Ayaz

Summer 2020 Issue

The light in the room is dimly dying: a dusky-gold dream falling onto my fingers and the folds in my silk dress. I lie with my knees up and long brown hands on my scarlet, shadowed belly – watching the ceiling, which pulses with penumbra. In the dark, colors are rendered obsolete and things, losing their names, are reduced to pure shape. The blanket of sameness tranquilizes me. There is this warmth of silence in the space, like a big cat’s breath. He comes back and lays himself over me. Sometimes I lie on his chest and hear his heartbeat: a form of protection, keeping vigil on a beautiful beat. Earlier, I felt his pulse through his square fingertips. My eyelids waver and I sink into the privilege of sleepiness shared. I think about how every breath that fills my ribcage pushes him higher and lower, how he rides the current of my body, how every move we make impacts each other. I think about how we all might feel this amber-red ache in our chests. A hot trickle from the full, full soul. Juice bursting from the palm pit plum with every bite.

        Do you feel the night outside your window?  

Beside where we lie, a cool stream of evening licks my face. His head on my red, silk belly. Dark, wet curls and the changing wind, silver breeze through the splitting blinds. I’m careening through the world so fast while lying so still, and I know many things will happen to me. I step toward them like a captive sailor on a wooden plank: still alive with dream light, still love-swathed and silk-slipping. It’s doom but it’s lovely doom and we all share some certainty, in simple terms, of death. Sand through a sieve. The human term for the fact of our need for hands-in-hands and fingers-on-faces and eyes-drowning-in-eyes. An appreciation for the soft-belly-glow while it lasts. An open ear to the whistle of wind outside our nighttime havens. The whistle of a changing current and life despite. The falling leaves and falling sun and life despite. Love, love, love, and life despite.

Natasha Ayaz is a fiction writer and graduate of Bard College, where she studied Written Arts and Literature. After completing her undergraduate studies, she moved back home to Boston where she is currently working on a collection of short stories. Her writing has previously appeared in The Louisville Review and is forthcoming in Narrative Magazine.