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Or is this not the secret of the obstacle between us?—that his type is the large, buxom woman, heavy on the earth, while I will always be the virgin-prostitute, the perverse angel, the two faced sinister and saintly woman.

~Anais Nin

I danced as the temple burned.

It was meant to burn. That’s why it was built; to burn. The day before, I had walked under the red lanterns. I had run my hand along carefully crafted beams, it was beautiful.

Her skin was milk white. Not untouched, but held no marks of said caresses.

I had stood in the temple as people milled around me. Most had the glazed faraway stare that hallucinogens give you. I was sober. Dead sober. Still I felt off kilter, just a little bit shifted from this reality. I was in a sacred space. A solid structure built to be ephemeral.

Her lover ran a hand over her pale skin. “Perfect, beautiful, lovely, and mine” were all things he would say as he moved his hand across her back.  For the moment she accepted the attention. For the moment she enjoyed it.

Mazu. The Temple of Mazu. Transported to the desert. A goddess of the ocean. Here in the barren dust was a shrine to my beloved water, the blue, the deep, the unknown that stretches out and down to depths I will never see.

She hadn’t tired of his touch, but his insistent talk of her perfection was wearing on her. Other lovers just worshiped quietly. She was fine with that.

On the night the temple burned, I danced. Not just in the smoke and the dying embers, but with others. I stretched out worshiping, a tangle of legs and arms, and I searched for waves. I searched for the ocean in the desert.

So she sought an expression for this imperfection. She wanted to bring the inside out. His compliments were the tiny bits of sand she mulled.

The morning after the temple burned I watched the sunrise on its skeleton. The brilliant white lotus of the night before, was black iron. I had watched this skeleton emerge during the fire. The skin slowly burning away from the bone, curling, sparking, and changing. There is something calming in watching something sacred fall way. There was no malice in the transformation. No violence. Just worship.

 She felt the needle pierce her. She wasn’t able to see the black ink beginning to spread. She had given the artist her ideas. The intangible touch, the imperfection she cherished would be brought up, raised on her pale skin.

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