Madeline Lost Outside the Arcade

The fight starts over dinner and continues in the long glow afterwards and on through into bed with them, a third party while they tangle each other and bite and scratch under its directions, drawing literal blood to spill a little of the anger, a little of the pigheadedness.

Afterwards they lie next to each other in the dark and stare at the ceiling, breathless and bruised — the shape of his hands red on her shoulders, red and purpling, the long trails of her nails down his ribs, slowly oozing blood that in the morning will stain the sheets and baffle them.

They’re both still angry.

“You’re still wrong,” he says.

“Shut up,” she says, “god, can’t you? Let it alone.”

There is a crack in the ceiling the shape of a bunny, visible now that their pupils have dilated and the moon has swung around toward the windows. The drapes are open to let in the air, humid with a too-early summer. Neither of them will fall asleep first, afraid of bowls of warm water, feathers, shaving cream.

Towards dawn they roll toward each other, press together. This time the anger is gone and something like resignation breathes between them.