Salt Womb

by Rachel Rose Teferet

A manta ray sprawls on the sand
bat-like wings black and curling
cephalic lobes beckoning like hungry
fingers. Its cavernous grin
could swallow me whole

We talk for hours
discussing afterlives and oceans
I ignore the fishy stink and brush flies
away from its eye sockets

You must be mad to talk to a dead fish
it says. But we are kindred spirits—
don’t you feel the same?

The silence stretches

I talk to starfish but it isn’t the same
there’s no spine, no tongue, no eyes—
How could a starfish understand?

At low tide I caress
luminous tentacles
anemones suckle fingers
but only quiver and hum

I return to find vultures
swarming my manta ray
slurping skin
gulping bones—
I run

salt etching face
tide sipping
gelatin into juice

Rachel Rose Teferet graduated from Rutgers University with a BA in Fine Arts and a penchant for photoshopping the world with her eyes. Her work has been published by From Sac, Necon E-Books, and the Sierra College Literary Magazine as the winner of the 2016 Flash Fiction Contest. Her play has been performed at Synthetic Unlimited in Nevada City, California. Her website is, and her Twitter handle is @art4earthlings.

Photo credit: guitarfish via Flickr, All Creative Commons. Image is of a hazy shadow of  manta ray, swimming half into the frame from right to left. 

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