Megan Pillow (formerly Megan Pillow Davis, and writing here as John Torrance) is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a doctoral candidate in the University of Kentucky’s English Department. Her work has appeared in, among other places, Electric Literature, SmokeLong Quarterly, Hobart, Paper Darts, and Passages North. She’s on Twitter @megpillow.
All in all, it’s a good place to stop for the night. There’s little work to be done and a beauty of a view: a tranquil lake at the bottom of a grassy hill, lush and electric green beneath the early evening sun. No other cattle to crowd them. After they put up tents, perhaps a bit of play to shake off the day’s ride: a tune on Morton’s banjo. Then grass for the cattle and grub for the men: canned beans, or maybe a rabbit that’s a touch too slow, something that makes the belly full without turning it….
Lily isn’t sleeping, but I still try to get up from the bed without making a sound. The curtains are closed, and I open them a peep so that a thin shaft of light comes in, not enough so that anyone from the outside can see us. The shaft travels to the bed, to the body lying there, like someone has traced a line across her belly with a golden brush, and beneath that lick of gold, her skin, oh, Lily’s skin lights up like one of those paper lanterns that you set on fire and send into the sky….