Water Myth (Purgatory Story) [Benjamin Niespodziany]

after Evan Nicholls

A shoebox of water weighs more than the rain. A melon of puddle. An apple of dirt. A hearse turns on its hearing aid to listen to the sea. It’s late. You can’t have the music so you eat the exit sign before the exit sign eats you. You eat the paramedics who arrive on time to the scene, dreaming and numb. You eat their prescriptions, their outside voices, their cloaks with pockets of help. You eat the east wing of their screaming theater, a silence so vital it frightens. Temptation is an ancient spray paint we cake on our arms. How to die while waiting in line. Knocking the door until your knuckles crumble, your trumpets break. The man at the gate is wearing a beret I once saw you drawing in a dream. We were together on a swing set on the edge of the earth, rocking as the chains raised more and more noise. The clouds were open. We held them like skulls and later purchased a power hose to sober up the day. That was a very long time ago. 


Benjamin Niespodziany is a Pushcart Prize nominee who recently appeared in the Wigleaf Top 50. His writing has appeared in Fence, Maudlin House, Hobart, and various others. A Returned Peace Corps volunteer, he now works nights at a library in Chicago.


image: Lindsay Hargrave