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Watershed by Jack Murnighan

That afternoon I had decided to stop kissing everybody. That was my master plan. To stop kissing
Eleanor because it was starting to matter to her too much, to stop kissing Simone until she trusted

me and wanted me back, and to stop secretly kissing her housemate Anna, too. Then it happened: a
group of English Lolitas who together could form the cast of any number of one-acts of the id, pranced
into my life and asked me to give them poetry tutorials. There I was, Hylas leaning towards the depths, nymphs
beckoning . . . sometimes, you know, we just don’t have a choice.

I proposed we read Milton. Eva wasn’t part of the original group, but she’d heard about it through
the grapevine and showed up for the first meeting. And despite the multitude of diversions, I
noticed her immediately when she walked in the room. She was dressed more for a Russ Meyer casting
than a poetry class: platinum blond bob, two trapped glacial lagoons for eyes, eyelashes like a pair
of flexing tarantulas, her mouth a bloodred drooping orchid. I, ingenuous to the end, didn’t catch
on at all. Every seam seemed ready to burst, the few buttoned buttons of her babydoll blouse aching
with the strain, her black mini a skingraft on racehorse thighs. She had come from Oxford and
wanted to find out about this young American who had the hubris to propose to teach the English
their own poetry. Her plan was to bury me.

Only later when we had drenched the sheets and closed the blinds to the sun, did I know the future
is contained in the present as sure as in amber.


Now I have been fucked nearly to death. There are large tracts of skinless meat on my knees, elbows
and the tops of my feet; I have purpleblack bite rings on my shoulders, around my neck and down my
arms; I’ve thrown a muscle in my lower back; my neck and shoulders are stiff as hell; and every
time I touch her or even think about her I get so erect I think my penis is going to split like a
polebean along its seam.

It’s never been like this and it does little good to use the word happiness to try to describe it. I
feel more like a laboratory rat pressing the pleasure bar, ignoring food, ignoring water, ignoring
society . . . We dream only of enclosure, to be phoneless and walled-up like an amontillado, paired
but anchoritic in endless whiteknuckle worship.

The Sex Scene

I wake her with dirty fingers. Fresh stained with Vespa grease, I slowly run thumb and index along
her sleeping brow, following the arcing line with mothwing-tender kisses. The parabola widens down
past her clavicle, running my tongue along its slow ridge till my fingertips catch the edge of the
duvet. In a steady

tug I pull it off her body and there she lies golden and tousled in the late
morning sun. The touch recommences below her left breast, tracing kisses down to the gentle swell
where snowwhite down first turns dark. She trembles, but does not wake. I unbutton my
jeans and gently part her knees with the back of my hands. As she begins to stir, I lean my naked
torso long out across her body, place my lips to hers, and slide myself into the warm and familiar
aperture. Now she is awake and aware and kissing me back between a smile and arching her back and
raising her knees. I tuck my hands under her ass, stand up slowly and pull her to the edge of the
bed. She arches a bit to the left, guiding my movement with her left hand on my stomach, feeling
each groove and ushering forth the long steady thrusts. My zipper is digging into her thigh and
she’ll have bruises from my beltbuckle and buttonmarks on her shanks, but she keeps biting her other
thumb and circling faster and faster movements on my stomach. I lift her gently, pushing her legs
back with my shoulders, and her left hand moves from my stomach to reach between her legs. She
grinds, loses the composure of her expression, stroking herself with fore and middle fingers paired.
Her breath comes heavy, and in an instant she is glazed with sweat. The pace quickens to the
breaking point, my strokes are tight pulses, her ringlets replaced by a side to side mania, and then
she gasps, pitches hard against me, does a long last grind, opens her eyes and unfurls a slow smile.
She looks deep into my eyes and I just laugh, release her legs and kiss her full and wet on the
lips. We know we’ve only just begun.

I try not to pull out after the first orgasm, just pause, drink a bit of water, bite her on the
curve of her neck, and then recommence in delicate, attenuated circles. Her come glues me to her
walls; I can barely pull backwards. It feels like fucking a stalled cement truck. Then I slip my
shoulder round and roll her on top of me. She takes my hands and puts them high on her hips, then
starts working in tight circles, leaning back little by little to take in ever more of me. She bites
her lower lip, her hard high breasts are shining with sweat, her mouth opens, eyes close, and she
smiles the smile of a fallen, defiant angel. Eva, my sweet Eva. Of my sugarplums, my deepdrives,
my hemoglobin.


“Lift it for me. Show it to me. Lift it for me slow. Speak to me with it baby, lift it, tell me you
love me you know I love it. Show it to me, oh yes, show it to me honey, do that thing you do. I
gotta have you baby, gotta touch you, let me rub my face all over it. Take the pillow, yeah, use the
pillow honey you’ll be

more comfortable, I gotta rub my face all over it, gotta touch you. Fuck I love you baby. Shit I’m
trembling all over. I’m losing
it baby, I’m gonna split or fall apart or something. No don’t do this to me baby, don’t, don’t. Oh
don’t fucking do this to me baby. No you can’t possibly move it that way, you can’t baby, no please
don’t. Oh just let me just let me touch, oh shit, oh shit. Oh yeah, oh yes, yes baby yes, oh you
can’t be doing that you can’t. Oh
jesus, holy fuck, oh baby please. Yeah shake it, oh yes move it, oh yes, oh I can’t take it baby I
just can’t. No you’ve gotta be kidding, you have got to fucking be kidding, oh let me, let me let me
let me. Move it baby, show me how you can move it. Holy fucking shit, oh I like that baby, fuck
that’s good, that is so fucking good. Oh yeah honey, go baby, fucking christ, I’m gonna fucking lose
it, I’m gonna fucking explode, I’m just gonna fucking die. A little fucking more baby, oh yeah, a
little, just a little more, oh shit, oh shit, oh my fucking god, oh . . .”


Butterfly your arms to their furthest extension, arch your scapulae pinioned beneath your lover’s
weight, then rotate your palms and bury nail and knuckle through the sheets and deep into the foam;
then pull, pull, squeeze, stretch, buckle; then, when you’re about to snap, when you hear yourself
scream and feel the sweat run in rivulets down your face, you will begin to have an idea of what I’m
talking about.

She tells me that when I die she’ll have me cremated, put my dust in a douche and run me
through one last time.

I, however, remain a bit stymied. The closest phrase I’ve found is “I love the shit out of
you.” These seven words, as I halt

the millionth time from repeating them, emerge again as the final frontier, the last outpost of
language on the range. In my dreams I
see the hordes of bison, the unmassacred millions of bison, the massive, sanguine,
mindless triple-hearted bison ever charging the further field and each thundering footfall the
mute’s testimony of my singular truth.

Beneath a footprint, below a gopher hole, under an oil well, deeper, deeper than the
blackest sea abyss where the transparent fish traded eyes for malice and kill not for sustenance but
to syncopate the monotony, that is where my echo sounds.

I have died but that doesn’t keep me from dying again and again. A whisper — death. Two
minutes late — death. A hemline — death. Like a field of sorghum, the folly of identity has been
surrendered to the lilt, whistle and push of an eternal wind.

She seems to feel likewise.

©1997 Jack
Murnighan and