Autumn peers at me from behind the calligraphy of white-oaks and whispers,
“A man will come to you one day, press his palm to the space between your breasts. It will be painful, but you will bear it. He will lift away his hand. It will be covered in the stain of your heart. He will lick your heart off his fingers and swallow it, his eyes never leaving yours.”
In Winter I wake sweating from a dream. A black bear reached into my mouth and pulled out my heart. The bear tied my heart to a branch of my apple tree, turned to me, said, “No sense arguing with fire.”
Spring is a canoe I row, sucking honeyed shellfish. I smell like a hen full with children. Lace and fruit are strewn across my lap. My thighs ache from solitude.
Summer: a man comes to me and lays his head in my lap. His skin is copper. His hair is long, warm, and dusty. I tip back my head, open my mouth. The moon drips in. It tastes like milk. I spit the moon into the man’s ear.
The man opens his eyes. He carries me to a clearing. I come with his hands on my lower back, my eyes on the sleeping profile of the moon. As I shiver he bucks and stills. I keep him resting inside me, slide off at last onto my back. Thirst ravages me. I remember the way the moon tasted. I want to drink it again.
The man is sitting up, looking down at me. He is pressing his palm to the space between my breasts. I cry not because of the pain, but out of remorse for prophecy. His palm on my chest makes me come again. My orgasm makes fluid streak like fingers past my navel.
I pull his hand close to my face and examine it, looking for the stain. It is red and viscous and shaped like a continent. A wind blows through the emptied insides of my chest.
“I’m sorry,” the man says. “It was written before us.”
Before he can lick my heart from his palm, the way Autumn said he would, I pull the man's head back into my lap. His body blurs into the shape of a God. He grows warmer. I stroke his hair, look back at the moon. “Phoebe,” he moans, his voice deeper, raspier, “you’re hypnotizing me.”
I hold his smeared hand up to the moon, let it undulate in the beam. The red, gunky matter pulses, darkening. Shifts direction and shape and pattern, becomes circular, round as a fresh belly: an Oracle.
I take my heart turned Oracle from him with both hands, muscles twitching beneath its weight. I place it on his chest. He labors in breathing, grabs for my hand. I wipe sweat from his forehead with my scarf, kiss his eyes.
The Oracle begins to glow, a light so strong it collides with the moon’s. Two lights writhe in helix. He huffs and heaves. At last, once, violently, he coughs. Out from his mouth rushes the moon. It splashes upon the Oracle, a mammoth gush of white on white. I eat what's left with my fingers, my eyes never leaving the man turned God's.
And this is how Autumn is born.