Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • 1.

    The jungle is paradise. That winter we rented a house by a river. A house on stilts. At night, you could hear the frogs, in the darkness, their croaking grew ever louder, ricocheting into our dreams.

    We tied a hammock between two kapok tree, and in the hot sticky afternoon, we would sleep, we would sway, with the crepitation of crickets, with the river swooning, the wind lisping, our eyes closed, our arms, legs, woven together, we transformed into one organism, a giant two-headed spider.

    Do you recall those mariposas with their stained-glassed wings, blue, iridescent, holy, how they courted us?

    At dusk, we ventured into the jungle, we gathered wildflowers, orchids, hibiscus, ginger, others we could only name with our eyes, not our tongues, zebra stripes, screaming scarlet, sunshine yellow.

    We ate by the light of paraffin candles. The palm wine made us drunk. The pot made us giddy.

    And when we swam in the river, so dark, the night, blackened, without a moon, there was a moment, when you disappeared, submerged, I called out your name, but there was only this echo, a void. I was terrified.


    The jungle is murder. Guava trees loaded with grenades. Coral trees stained with blood. Banana leaves spear the sky. And the palm trees, their fronds, are sharp, like the blades of a knife.

    Do you recall the vipers, how they hid under the brushes, entangled in the darkness, waiting to ensnare us with their fangs?


    It would be many years later, when I would glimpse you again in the Tenderloin, coming out of a taxi cab, your face had that hollow, piercing, chastened look, and your clothes, shoddy, unshapely. Stained.

    You, who had been meticulous with your wardrobe, carefully, mix-matching, trousers, sweaters, scarves, a closet of shirts in every shade from fuchsia to persimmon, now wore a drabby, brown overcoat, flabby jeans, several sizes too big.

    You, who seem so invincible, who at twenty, became infected with the virus, still survived, a decade later, while so many others succumbed to the purple lesions, the night tremors, you remained, somehow, unscathed, swimming upstream, hiking uphill, ravenous for life.

    But it was not the virus, but a different venom that would poison your body--methamphetamines.

    It would steal your job, your home (the garden blooming with Cherokee roses), and ultimately your health.

    That day, you averted your gaze when you saw me. You walked away. Pretending. As if I was some apparition. Another hallucination.

    This time. I let you go. Finally.
  • Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.