In the Other’s Mouth


by Rosaleen Lynch


When your arms open to me, I fall into them, give up the flight. The pursuit is over when the rabbit’s caught. When the greyhound feels the tickle of fur and warm blood on its tongue, there’s no more running. Two creatures are never so close as when one is in the other’s mouth.

When your arms open to me, I edge closer in the bed to be swallowed by your arms, like ribs encase lungs. They expand no more when the mouse is in the trap and blood stops flowing to the heart and brain. When the snake has these vital organs constricted in its coil and waits for them to quiet, there will be quiet. Two creatures are never so close as when they share the silence of the subdued night.

When your arms open to me I cross the crowded floor, on command, take my place in their boundary. One crook remains hung round the neck to hold in check. The airway and oesophagus join at the mouth for food and air and words when that animal has a voice. But when the red lynx clamps the deer’s throat with its teeth and holds to suffocate, the deer will kick and thrash or play dead so the grip will slacken. Two creatures are never so close as when they can’t be free.

When your arms open to me I want the warmth, the heat, the safety of a tightened jaw. Arms locked round my body. Teeth on my neck. But they don’t have to be yours and slowly your arms close without me in their confines. And I edge away, quiet, hang my eyes and arms as if I’ve nothing left, it’s over, life is done. Two creatures are never so close as when one tries to move away.


Rosaleen Lynch, an Irish community worker and writer in the East End of London, pursues stories conversational, literary and performed. Words in Jellyfish Review, Retreat West, Crack the Spine, Lunate, EllipsisZine, Reflex, Fish, Mslexia and The London Reader.