A boy in tattered pajamas laughed. His laughter woke him. He threw off his bedclothes and the memory of his parents, and stepped, naked, bristling with anticipated mischief, into a forest where he met other children, from families rich and poor, who’d done the same.
They sought the fire of forest animals’ eyes. Tiger rhinoceros gazelle chimpanzee. Wandered on all fours licking dirt off each other’s bodies. Pine needles and banana leaves burnished their sides, tingling their skin. They danced by moonlight and stars glistening in their eyes, held hands, pressed warm flesh to warm flesh, until a single shout of tenderness and delight filled the woods with adolescent rage.
He lay with his friends, stroking hair, running the sole of his hoof down the ridge of a woman-child’s spine. She shuddered, squeezing taut flesh between his furry legs. He swung her around, grabbed a pomegranate from a branch. They devoured palm fronds, pine needles, banana leaves and green things everywhere.
Into the forest a dark river runs. Its water becomes mist that strokes the land and flows with sweat. Male and female, growing older, ingest each other. Men ride tigers, long hair sweeping low boughs. Women frolic with gibbons, wind bathing their naked breasts. Muscles harden, hands stroke electrified pores. Pores sweating, breathing electric sex, the forest’s angels tear at shoulders, smooth buttocks . . . chests . . . bellies. Some tongue the concavity of a navel, some lap up the musky scent of thights. They patter on leather-soled feet over starshine and excitement of waning nights. They rise with the mist to treetops, taking no notice of earthbound animals with outstretched paws.
Watering a blue-gold horizon, these illuminated beings ride themselves beyond fantasy to the breast of an unpainted dream.