You wear a crown of candles. I light them one by one. Out on the balcony, our friend plays a cassette through a tape player placed into a drained fish bowl. The night sounds like black and white, like next Sunday. Across from our friend, our charcoal grill cooks a squirrel. None of us know what to do with it once it's ready. Our friend grows heavy, paints his nails violet and leaves without saying goodbye. A car crash happens a few doors down. A Mercedes van drives through a chicken coop. We shake it away, pray together whenever a bird flies overhead. Our words different, our bracelets the same. We turn our heads like spinning plates and watch as a man flies off into the sky, holding on to hundreds of balloons, weeping, desperate for a hand.
-- Benjamin Niespodziany works in a library in Chicago and runs the multimedia art blog [neonpajamas]. He has had work published in Paper Darts, Fairy Tale Review (forthcoming), Hobart (forthcoming), Cheap Pop, and various others. He is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Ecuador, 2011-2013) and still remembers a little bit of Spanish.