Martha sat up in bed. Other days the heat radiating from his skin had drawn her towards it, and thus him, but now it repulsed her. “I can’t sleep”, she repeated.

He did not wake up. He did not wake for the warm damp air, for the mosquitoes or the moths, so he would not wake for her whispers.

She knelt and drew a fingernail down from his shoulder blade, tracking but not touching his spine. Below his skin a nail-thin green line appeared. On the stem buds flowered, extravagant leaves unfurled. Martha smiled. Another jungle line crept down the other bank of his spine. His smooth skin shone.

“My body is a temple, Martha” he had said in the beginning and she had longed to worship there. Now her eyes glittered like the fireflies they had seen. In the morning he would be a masterpiece.

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