A Holy Claustrophobia

This boy wonders what would happen if he were to swallow a square ice cube whole, one of those artisan whoppers concocted at hipster bars in Brooklyn. Would he suffocate before it melt? This boy guesses the answer doesn’t matter as much as the impetus behind the question. 

This boy stands in winter, mouth open and raw. This boy stacks logs his father chops for the wood stove. This boy stacks. Re-stacks. Arranges. This boy lifts two pieces of wood at a time, gloves worn and still too big on slender hands. This boy braces against the wind. This boy wishes he could become the wind. 

This boy is trapped inside a coffin. This boy bangs the plain wooden roof, not valuable enough for soft fabrics and mauve linings, bloody knuckles leaving slime on the walls. He arranges his lungs inside his body. Arranges his breath. His mental state dead ash in the shape of a candelabra. 

This boy would give anything, take the priest-blessed palm fronds from his hair, to feel cold on his collarbone—to expose to the point of indecency—those sharp points of fear where the wings of his shoulder blades yearn to break through the tinder and away, away, everywhere and everywhere, away and away and away all to chant why oh why oh why at God.


Jared Povanda is an internationally published writer and freelance editor from upstate New York. His work can be found in CHEAP POP, Pidgeonholes, Hobart, Bending Genres, and Taco Bell Quarterly, among others. Find him @JaredPovanda and jaredpovandawriting.wordpress.com


image: Nikki Dudley