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Changing Winds
by Avital Gad-Cykman

(originally published in Happy)

Nothing has changed since the bird migration twenty years ago. The ocean has been generous to us, as have the fields, the women, and the rains. We work hard and sleep heavily. Our bodies develop a brute strength. Strict and moral but always kind, some of us, men, have commanded the town.

One day, the rain stops and no train arrives. The transition finds us solid healthy, caring for big families and large households. The winds bring a smell of stinking fish from the east and howls of hungry hyenas from the west. Our present threatens to overpower our experience and catch a future we can’t even guess.

Women look in vain for fish to smoke and preserve in salt. The fruit in our orchards bursts open in the heat, shedding sweet meat to the ground. We wait at the train station, ready to serve the tourists we once abhorred. The railway stretches empty toward a far city where passengers are kept away by rumors of disease.

Over the second full moon, the footsteps of external force cross our path. We consider ways to survive, but threat cuts the air like a slicing knife. Women overwhelm us when they react to the urge of time. Their bodies blossom and open like sea anemones, moving round and mature limbs. Their fruity scent maddens us to the point we lose words like loyalty or betrayal. Our erections rise under our loosened clothes; we want our neighbors’ wives.

Their spread legs expose mango-like vaginas gleaming with juice. Craving to drink, we approach with tongues stuck-out to lick and suck and gulp it in. Their fluids slip inside our hot bodies like nectar. Wrapped in their legs and arms, our drugged bodies lull in their softness until a burst of semen wakes us from a dreamless sleep.

On the dusty streets and in sandy backyards the desert closes upon us. Food is scarce but women’s juices maintain us. They feed the children with hyena’s meat and rotten fruit. We watch them devouring the leftovers. Their appetite for us weakens as their bellies fill with new life. We are on the verge of despair. We cry for them, but they listen to different voices They step over us, heavy with their loads.

Lusting, we roll on the streets, thirsty for our women. The wind strokes our abrasive bodies with delicate layers of salty sea-sand. The cries of newborns beat our thinning voices. Our women breastfeed the babies and each other. And we are aroused. Their bodies, having lost the avocado shape of pregnancy, move with endless grace. Their skin is silken and their hair is smooth.

We have lost the command of nature’s signs, are grateful when each woman takes her man home.

They send the children out and look at their men with glimmering eyes. Before entangling their bodies with ours, they intoxicate us with an earthy scent. Thrusting our heads between their thighs, eager like babies we suckle. Raising our eyes, we watch them watching us with maternal smiles.



About the Author

Avital Gad-Cykman was born in Israel and has lived in brazil for the past twelve years with her husband and kids. No dogs yet, but there will be. Her work has appeared in: Happy, AIM, Imago, Karawane Magazine, The Cafe Irreal, Pindeldybolz, The Blue Review, Eclectica, and elsewhere. More of her fiction is forthcoming in Glimmer Train, Raven Chronicles, Snow Monkey, Yellow Bat Review, and In a Nutshell anthology. She is a Pushcart nominee and a prizewinner of the Israeli contest, Hamegeira. She has completed a story collection and is at work on a novel.