His body hovers; the distorted moon’s // gravity holds him still. With a flourish // toward the heavens, he plunges deeper. // His toes meet the slick floor, where his sister // had bounced, higher with each try, to reach the // crisp air. He opens his eyes; the chlorine // burns—as he had hoped it would—& his mind // pictures his boy self, up top at the edge, // staring with icy curiosity; // the sun’s ire balloons behind him. A sting // in his eyes. Pestles pulverize his chest // —he snuffs the pang out; nighttime. His shrinking // body craves life, but his sorry heart can’t // permit it …then: low unearthly grumblings // peel his lids into squints: two stars within // a cloud overshadow the moon—float forth, // snake their way closer & swell; they have come // to take him. A shove at the sacrum—a // force familiar to his cold hand—calls him // upward. He cracks the surface & inflates // his lungs. The arresting lights urge him to // the wall & his stack of shed clothing—briefs // atop a tank atop shorts atop sneaks. // The pair of almighty stars lift him from // the watery pit. He stands, repentant, // in their glow. Shriveled & trembling & wet. // Crimson torches, in oscillation, paint // him & warm his cheeks & welcome him in.
Brandon Stanwyck is an Ohio expat currently dwelling in Maryland. His writing has appeared in The Fiction Pool, Cleaver Magazine, Necessary Fiction, Filmotomy, and Gayly Dreadful. If you want to hear more, listen to his Oscars podcast Academy Queens
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