Unmeasured Ages

Between two dumpsters in his little cell, he crouched. Shrugged and coughed. The hiatus of night wore off. Unnuzzled into ache. More swarf belched up, nettled in his gorge. He’d been enwombed into this blood-drunk blightedness. Day again—he felt things begin to swivel down a drainhole. Cloudy brainlumps stalled and massed above him. Below, a pigeon hobbled. A backfire sponked. The pigeon flitted away. Soot-motes glinted down a crevice. Nitted feathers traced the eye’s deception, dove-gray to bottlegreen, as it flew beyond the circle of his sight.

What troll was he, gibbering in his slobber-coated vestments, rags more laced than logic? He owned no face that anyone would answer. Only this threadbare ganglia, this mummery obtained by thieving sortilege. He took out a pack of cigarettes he’d lucked upon, flipped the lid—one left—and pulled a match from the little book he stowed in a fold of his pants, lighting up. Breathed the sweet exhaust into his lungs. Stumped out and flicked the nub.

His image winked at him from sipewater. He coughed again and saw himself wiped clear by the sun’s discharge. Then gloom whelmed over. The eaves dripped. Mizzle furred outlines in the distance. A fat rat clambered through the chain-links. It bit another rat that poached its prey, an upturned beetle. A twisting in the pit of things: gaunt and dizzy. Half gone over. His guts a coiled noose. He threw a rock at the squabbling rats. Shrieking as they scuttled off. He picked up the articulated hull, opened his mouth. Crunched down with his jaws and the moist entrails spurted. Chewed until he ground the shell. Gummed it, jowling, then swallowed in one gulp.

A small part of him became a beetle—the warm paste de-molecularized inside him. His tract reconstituted the bug’s atoms into this corpus that he called his own. The enzymes leached out into his blood and made him vertiginous. A contact high from any starch. Well, he’d rummage in the dumpsters and then if nothing could be scraped, he’d boost some tater chips or Snickers. Or maybe stalk the playgrounds to snatch some sickly sweets from little candy-scented kids who tarried too far from their nannies. No honest mooch would turn up half as much. When he got himself back to weight, they’d let him donate plasma once again and then he’d dine in style, a T-bone steak served rare in a pool of its sanguine juices.   

In the weedlot yonder, fire ants crazed the eyeholes of a shriveled sparrow. Too far to slurry to be worth his waste. The dumpsters then. He lifted up a lid: a dark-age peddler’s heap of bogus relics. He could tell by the arrangement that nothing had been unloaded since he looked late yesterday. Gnats illusioned on the air. He clanked it down and propped the lid of the other dumpster. A strew of bags packed with soiled boxes, gizmos, and conundrums. He ripped the skin of a garbage-sack. A longneck stuck out. He tipped it back till the brickwork bent behind it. He licked the foam. He sorted through a shoebox to find a lemon rind, a Pop Tart wrapper with a thumbsized crumb dribbled in a crook. He squatted on the dumpster’s lip, sifting through detritus. A slag of intestinal circuit-boards. A distorted clock-face with its hands ripped off—its pendulum revolving still. Twisted clothes-hangers. Assorted gears. Chunks of perforated Rubik’s cube. A buckled putt-putt club. A doll’s arm, bib, and stuffing. Then, a blinking head. Underneath, he found himself an unopened tin of Spam. He slapped it down his gullet without the least gustation. Digging, discovered a can of whipped cream, which, when agitated, snorted a last thick glop of fructose. He elbowed out a second bag. The heft of it felt promising. He could tell the contents were shapely knobules rather than anything cardboard or mechanical.

He clawed the bag. Inside it held a blue-skinned child with chubby limbs. No stillborn fetus, this. No pitched abortion or newborn wastrel. It must have been—he wasn’t any judge of how slow time wrought upon a wholesome body—what, maybe one, already two years old? He touched the flesh. The child’s joints sprawled gawkily amid the rubble. He cradled up the bulk. Under the butter-flab he sensed some slender palpitation. The pulse could have been his own blood pressing back. He pinched the nose, closed off the mouth, and suddenly it gasped. The eyes budded. They looked him down the far stunned tunnel of his life.      

He dropped the child, this little trash baby, but it cushioned on trash-bag bladders that ballooned up like a sultan’s couch. The thing extruded pudgy little fingers. It drooled; mewed. It stopped wriggling to squinch its face. “Gah, gah.” It stared at the haggard gargoyle perched above it. The gums quivered, hesitating, before they screeled.

*   *   *

Neither witch nor warlock, but indeterminate and genderless, the mass before him resembled a mud-pie with elephantiasis. Jellylike yet ashen-skinned, the figure was begrimed with fallen, piebald down. From each of this creature’s careworn sleeves, crows poked out, their talons gripped on desiccated arm-nubbins, their beady heads forming hands-by-proxy which, rather than awaiting the creature’s bidding, had grafted their own birdbrained volition to the disembodied cognizance in the galling must that this gigantic toadstool inhabited. The creature’s neck-face contained two red-rimmed lazy-eyes milkblind with cataracts, but these were only gluey ornaments since it trained its focus through an open wound that puckered in its forehead, as if by some atavistic wizardry it had reactivated a parietal oculus from its salamandrine ancestors, which it would lean toward its interlocutor, who, more often than not, was picked from a jury of vultures and macaws, ravens, cockatoos, ibises, wrens, catbirds, mocking jays, spoonbills, and pelicans that perched all around it in the recesses of a plywood shack, engulfed in their sulfurous lime droppings.

“Lissen, Ka— Ka, I need ya ta hep me… Please.”

The furuncle on Ka’s skull pustled. “Yes? Why did you come to see me, Macon? None of us is not without problems, after all.” A shuttle of plumes harrumphed in the corners, convulsing small galaxies as if a chimneysweep had brushed a fireplace.

“Ain’t fer me. I—”

“Ah-mh,” Ka paused. “Then…?”

“I gots a child.”

“Child?”

“Yeah, I dunno—mus’ be maybe two year old.”

“Is your child sick, Macon?”

“Naw, the kid’s not sick. He’s healthier dan a fox in a henhouse. I gagged ’n hogtied the runt ’nd stowed him in a good ol’ hidey-place. —Din’t wanna risk carryin ’em over d’ bayou here. Might look mighty fishy.”

“But he’s safe for now?”

“Yup, no worries dare.”

“What do you plan to do with him?”

“Well dat’s why I come to you about. I thought you’d, y’know, take a predilection to him. Mudder him like he’s your egg—or molest him, whatever it’s you do wit suchlike litter boys. Use ’em fur your potations. Or you cud well ate up d’ kid, I don’t right damn care.”

“And for the child you’d want—?”

“Ka, I know sure’s fuck you ain’t got no money, you broke-ass sonafobitch.”

“Sonafobitch, sonafobitch,” a parrot echoed.

Ka’s lesion wrinkled.

“I wantcha to puts a curse on Hoover far me. Dat cuntwipe done tried ta choke me in ma sleep.”

“Is that so?”

“Yeah. I’m tellin ya, Ka, dat ass-munchin fuckall ’nd I got beef goin back fore eder one of us can ’member.”

“Macon: I’d want to see this kid first.”

“Don’tcha doubt it, this cute little shit’s top-notch virgo intacta.”

“And I’d need something of Hoover’s—a strand of hair, a fingernail paring, any little piece of excremental grunge would do.”

“No problem, sir.”

A stork switched the leg it stood upon, and at that instant the crows that substituted for Ka’s hands flew off. Ricocheting across the room, the crows seemingly multiplied as the pair—the swirling horde—pecking the stork to death.

“Hell, we gots us a deal. Ok?” Macon asked.

Ka winked and an ooze slunk out his hole.

*   *   *

When Macon arrived back to the dumpster, the child was gone. He rummaged amid the mounds of junk then tried the other dumpster. Broken glassware, metal tubing, black plastic heaps gave back the noon’s ferocity. He could feel the atoms fusing in the solar-core melt upon his scalp.  

He kicked a tin can, but its lid stuck in his boot-leather. “Stupid cocksucker, godfuckingdamnit!” He shook in an epileptic fit and the lopsided can finally wobbled off. A dark seepage imbrued his toe. He hopped—fell, caught himself, and limped forward. Used the momentum to zag across city blocks. Took byways. Slinked through back alleys. He followed train lines through mazes where parallels met in switchyards, cattycornered shortcuts through plots reclaimed by jungling elephant-plants. He stomped up the porches of shotgun clapboards and out their rear screendoors. He clambered fire escapes, hurtled balconies. He tiptoed clotheslines, swung from dangling defunct electric wires. Monkeyed over whole wards. His strange simian form loped across the ruined map. Buildings jerry-rigged from driftwood. Districts filled with gutted mansions, kudzu, and graffito. Banana trees bursting from their rotten leaf-fall. He trudged over purfling estuaries and quicksand sandbars and middens scattered with offal, crawdad shells, and fishbones. Barbicans of sewage. Past the dockyard to the bootlegger’s encampment, a second city within the city, fluttering with plastic tarps staked down to skeletons of chicken-wire. Daylit smoke escaped perpetually from trash-barrels in this zone of purblind refugees, bull-nosed zombies, fey albinos, and lepers naked except for little bells. 

He didn’t have to ask around much before he spotted Hoover dozing in a fishnet hammock glittering with primal slime. Fish scales bedizened him like sequins on a lounge singer. Macon could tell by the tent-pole in Hoover’s cut-offs that his crooked prick had swelled up from some lurid backwash of blood-engorged fever-dreams. A bulging tick suckled Hoover’s mop-head. Macon took the trusty skiv he’d whittled from a toothbrush out from the sagging elastic of his sock-matter. He could kill the bastard right here in broad daylight and not one soul would care, all so deep in the caverns of their own concerns that their figures slumped like marionettes or lumbered by him like somnambulists, spilt eyeless into void. Macon poised the blade, crouching at the door of this other man’s life, a sun-blacked brother in an open field, and struck out with his shiv. He’d only come to steal a lock of hair rather than skin him of his scalp—let him live and suffer and be cursed. It’d be luckier to die.

The knife met Hoover’s bristled thatch, glanced off, and yawed the net in which the cradled sleeper burned and spoiled. Hoover spun, toppling out, the gash on his brow sputting gore into his now-opened eyes. In the same moment, the pendulating berth entangled Macon, who fell, dropping the shank. Of the two, Hoover sprang up first, wiped his face, and grabbed the weapon. Macon scrambled backwards crabwise in the dust. Hoover—a silhouette in bloodshot sun—stood over his antagonist, coiled, readying a thrust. But his wound gushed out and blinded him once more. Macon rolled, righted himself, and knocked away the shiv. The contact, however, allowed Hoover to sense his opponent, whom he grabbed. They embraced. Twisted. Steadied each other’s force. Locked in toil, they each struggled for advantage, shoveling their weight, yet still unbending. Straining and spent, the day’s heat beating down upon them.

Macon winced. “Where’s da kid?”

“Whajad mean? Wud fuckin kid?”  

“Ya dun’t know?” Macon asked.

“You cockered shit-strake, I’m gonna wrangle your pizzle-pated botchy capit so it never gleeks again.”

Hoover muscled for leverage, girded around Macon astraddle as Macon lost purchase, and straightway Macon’s hip listed—the socket wrenched and he fell.

Macon woke at daybreak, abandoned to a thousand spasms, a ladder of ascending agony through each slipped vertebrae. He lay slumped under a moss-strangled willow oak. Wind fondled the tree’s gray beard as if it contrived some anagogical malevolence. Perched on a low branch, an egret flinched. The round gold whorl of its eye dilated upon him as it turned its neck. It spread its great auspicating wings, flapping until it coasted thin away. At last vanished into a needle against the contused horizon. His mind inventoried the lacerated space it occupied, tallying each knotted snag or rupture. Macon turned his own neck, which cricked, his cheek now resting rough against the loamy gravel. Squinying in soft focus, his eyes alighted on a peculiar stick. The foreground sharpened, doubled, righted momentarily. He recognized his own shiv not arm’s length away. Plunged handle upright in the pack-dirt. That grimy motherfucker, he let Macon live to see another day. Returned him the favor.

*   *   *

“Da shiv—dere’s his blood on th’ shiv.”

“You’re sure it’s his?”

“Ka, believe you me, I might look like some fuckup, sure, but c’mon I’d knowed if I got shanked anywhere. I swiped ’em once. Th’ rest of da tussle was just blunt fists ’nd bruises. Dis is Hoover’s, right here.” Macon pointed to a ruby bead that was scabbed on the knife. “Yuh. Done left this behind ’nd it’s gonna come bite him in da ass, heehee! Now he’s th’ one dumb as a turkey’s cullion.”

Ka took the shiv, examining it. “Ok. This is enough.”

“So you’s gonna curse ’em, right?”

“You will bring the child next time. Yes?”

“Yeah-yeah, but I done tol’ you already. I’m not gonna cart de kid round wit duck-tape on its mouf. Sides, he’s a big un’—he must weigh a cottonpickin ton, I shit you not. An’ growin ev’r secd.”

There was a pause in which the birds, too, stood hunched and silent.

“So—you gawn put dis curse?” Macon said finally.

“A fate befalls with blinding force—”

“—You don’t need give me dis gibber—”

“—and the truth will be instrumented to its own design; forthwith, you have been warned. Any uncertain shape or shibboleth may rivet unto your very face. No insight is possible. Nature is dark; the soul is darker still—”

“—Buncher mumbo—”

“—The curious braid of destiny has a way of evading our better wishes. Whatever we have learned by hard experience awaits us to be unlearned—”

“Got it, I got it. But I wanna ax how long ya think it’ll take t’ start to take effect, this curse?”

“Soon. You will see.”

“Yeah?”

“You promise to bring the child: tomorrow?”

“Y’ think dis curse ’ll be workin by then?”

“The curse is immediate and irrevocable.”

“Alright, den. Promise.”

“Ok, Macon. I will curse this blood.”

“Dat’s what I’m talkin bout.”

A pair of owlish eyes swiveled in the dark.

“But,” Ka said. “I need the child.”

“Lookit, I’m gonna do whaja say, Ka… C’mon, Ka. Truss me.”

*   *   *

Macon’s toe had swelled to an angry bulge. The cut on his toe must have absorbed the swamp cess. Turned into gangrene. Trenchfoot. The anguish sharpened his senses, made him fully cognizant. Revealed the texture of each grass blade he stepped upon; the watch-back joints of the insects festering on a turd. He could hear the slow drone of cold-blooded circulation inside the sun-dazed lizards. A clockwork ticking in the heart of things, like some faint echo of the universe’s founding cataclysm.

As he hobbled back, the breeze quickened. Whipped up trash wrappers. Litter spun in a burnt-out structure’s wind-trap. Hurrying across the crippled moonscape, his breathing clotted with midges. The soiled river overhead lurched and slurried, sped and eddied onward, ever-swifter; the clouds molted. Awful shapes conjured themselves, mounting one upon another. Worked up into gruelish thunderheads like a Moloch. A wedge of dark and nameless birds sailed above him. Another flock scissored over, unearthly psychopomps. Each one plagiarizing the next. More and more, as if they fled a premonition. Savage beggar-birds crowded the sky—droves of them dimming the firmament. Wings thinning into shade, like arrows hurled in celestial combat. The elements fled each other in a vast migration. A disease seemed stricken in the formless stuff that made up this ever-varied cosmos, a strife-filled wandering from body to body. An impurity foundered each particle, an ineradicable murk lodged in the deepest substratum. Matter uprooted from its own structure, torqued from itself to be free from the residue that had fathered it.     

Looking up, Macon had stumbled on the train track’s cross-trestles and landed in a ditch. He scrambled upright and tripped again, attempting to regain balance even as he accelerated headlong to no definite place, collapsing forward with each step, the loose heel of one bootsole absently flapping. The cold grip of the weather enclosed him. Chilled his bones. A craze of lightning snapped. For an instant it revealed the jagged membrane of a faceless world. Macon had a vision of his nervures—that riot of packed and knotted wires. It, too, was an electrical storm, a series of dendritic leaps over an erratic vacuum. And all he knew by means of it was merely semblance and vapor, an apparition composed of ground fog. A frizzled, doddered limbo. He slanted forward, facing out the inclemency in which even the raindrops stood still—tiny globes which fell dream-slow in their equipoise between wind and gravity. He shut his eyes against the whipping fragments. Blinded, his thoughts swam beyond the welkin’s arc, buoyant in a ghastly darkness.

The rain slashed down and the river dragged its torrent. A mad engastrimythic gurgling issued from the pit of earth. Macon clambered up a cell phone tower. A dog bobbed in the ruckus, paddling then tugged under with the current. Bloated fish wafted, roiled. A toilet sucked away. Planks and cinderblocks and unidentifiable rigging swept past. He witnessed scrapyards float by, ripped from their holdings. The river extracted homes and cars and hulking slabs from concrete infrastructure and great entablatures of mausoleums, catching up and wiping clear whatever fell in its dread path. A juggernaut of sludge and shirrings and frothy sputum. He watched the countless dead as they bellied forth in the flood, impelled by its onrush of diluvia.    

Light-headed, he convulsed. Tremors as if from withdrawal. His grip began to loosen from the tower. Mesmerized by some smudge upon the flux. A revenant undulant in waters below him. A figure half himself. It loomed upon him—moth-large as if projected by candlelight. Down and fathoms down he plunged until he kissed his shadow.     

Awoke.       

The pitch of the starry zodiac drowned him. He lay face up on dry ground. Breathed, feeling the granulated textures of terra firma. He turned his head. The child—the child was there beside him, within hand’s reach. No, closer. He touched it. His arm against the imp’s. Looked again, and he saw the pallor of the child’s skin, the spidery veins, ulcers suppurating its flyblown flesh. A miasma pullulated from one limb to another, from the child’s to his. He could feel his own flesh rotting.

Macon jerked back. A twinge of putrefaction crept up his right arm where he had touched the child. He felt the phantom maggots twisting. With his left hand, he made for the matchbook he stole down his pants. Struck a match—lit his arm afire. Flames singed his skin. He inhaled the stench. Fumes watered his eyes. Light blistered. Everything clouded into pain. Indistinct where the burning stopped. Uncertain whether he could contain the conflagration, he felt himself licked up by the greedy tongues like a wax-figure, whirled in a vascular ooze of magma. Melting into the delirious heat.    

*    *    *

What parts had he dreamed? He crouched between the dumpsters. The sky mantled with phlegm. Daylight hung gravid. The solid expanse of cloud-cover was like a fatty subcutaneous tissue above the littered mudpack of the terrestrial viscera. Above him, the nebulous shapes crawled away, one hallucination overflowing into another, veil upon veil. A pigeon bobbed amid its high ellipse. Puffed up, it almost purred. He grabbed for his cigarette carton, something rattling in the box. Opened it. Empty except for one charred match amid remnants of wrinkled cellophane. Ah, whatever substance hadn’t been a dream had now gone up in smoke.

Scratched his right arm, which had broken out in scabs. It itched the way a tree must feel when it flakes off bark. Toe, too, felt numb. It gaped, tumid around its unhealed nick. A rankled necrosis. In fact, he barely had report of any sensation when he reconnoitered the subaltern regions of his corpse. A tenseness in the muscles. Slight fluttering in the chest. No noticeable pulse.

Then a tight wrenching down the gut confirmed his vim. He trundled over to a dumpster. Lifted the hatch. A few lumpish, sealed-up bags squatted inside, from one of which he scavenged ham sandwich crusts that curdled with mayonnaise, a half-nibbled apple, a few stray Cheetos. He maundered over to the second dumpster; flipped its cover. One cinched sack sat atop the others. Large and sagging, the outline of something pushed against its plastic skin. He ripped it open: the child.

The contour of the child’s body slouched, almost deboned. Skin pale to the point of transparency. Faint, varicolored organs silhouetted beneath a phosphorescent complexion. Sleeping, shivering a little, it sucked its thumb. The child. Yes. Perhaps he had overlooked it last time in his frantic search. He had, after all, wrapped it back up in a garbage bag and returned it to a dumpster. But which dumpster, he had trouble recollecting. Could he have searched the wrong one in his haste? Hid it too well; outsmarted himself?

The child—or, rather, a child. Maybe some pederast used Macon’s dumpster as his disposal bin. The longer Macon looked, the less certain he became that this was the same child as before. What were its distinguishing marks? The image of the child distorted each time he tried to recall it. His memory overlaid imagined faces onto the child’s physique, urchins that had tormented his own youth, an amalgam of mismatched features. As he focused, the countenance of the outcast child kaleidoscoped, matured, changed identity. The child’s features shrank back, reversing the course of time. Abruptly, Macon saw instead his face, but not his face—his face from long-gone days, a cherubic toddler’s visage, plump and clear-eyed. Rosy-cheeked. An innocent familiar. But this imago he envisioned resembled nothing, neither the child he had been nor the child he had found. And emphatically it did not resemble anything like his slack-jawed face, unshaven as it was now. His eyes stared off, crow-footed, gazing into a path that had no clear vanishing point. Quarks flitted. Amoebae squiggled. Random specks secreted past. Phosphenes orbited in the child’s penumbra, icy flames like comet’s hair. 

What did it matter? It was a child, this changeling before him. Alive, at least for the moment. He scooped it up, bundling it as best he could in a spare rag, and hastened toward Ka.  

*   *   *

“You’ve brought the child this time?”

“Yup.” Macon unwrapped part of the shawl and displayed the foundling.

“Hm…Good enough.”

“Hey whud’s dat sposed ta mean? Huh? Yuh, Ka. You’s crazier dan a stray docked dog chasin its own lost tail.”

A long minute passed. The peacocks shuddered; the flamingoes hissed.

The oculus furrowed. Ka raised an arm-nubbin and the crow on it flew off. The crow alighted on a cabinet wedged in a spandrel. Nudged opened a drawer, picked something out with its beak. Flew back to its perch. Ka held the crow directly above the eye’s cavity. The item in the crow’s beak flashed. A pink, untainted crystal. The eyehole dilated, the socket quivered. Uncontracted. The crow’s beak hinged. The crystal fell down into Ka’s volcanic pucker and disappeared, as if to propitiate that eye’s outlandish hunger.

“Give over the child,” Ka demanded.

 A parrot squawked, “child, child.”

Instinctively, Macon clutched the child tighter in his arms. He looked down and, again, he saw the child’s face could be his own. Its blue orbs blinked. “Gah. Gah.” The face—it couldn’t have been any accident—the face was a spitting image of his own. The child’s visage fused traits from his many-branching stock. The history of Macon’s namesakes radiated apparent in all the child’s lineaments. Of course, Macon realized, the child was his own, a waif he had begotten on this unfaithful world, spunk of his spunk, made one midnight when he drunkenly mooned around half-undisposed. A surplus from some peepshow rabbit session. The cloudy dregs of sozzled reverie.

Ka spoke. “You cannot stop the curse. Its horrible destiny will bless the blood you gave me with wretchedness unto the end of days. The curse, you see, has no direction in time. It seeps out across the manifold of unmeasured ages. Whoever has been cursed will inherit a vile past, which he will perpetuate, and which will redound upon him helplessly, every moment of his existence, every dwindled instant, past and future, for eternity.”

A murmur of wings agitated in unseen penetralia. A fury of garbled cries, a mockery of human speech.

“S’ blood—hey. D’ya knowed who’s blood it wus on da skiv?” Macon asked.

“Hoover’s… It was Hoover’s blood. That’s what you told me, right?”        

“Are you—”

“Don’t worry. It certainly tasted like Hoover’s.” Ka smiled, if the rictus of his mouth could properly be described as forming such a gesture.

Macon could feel his heart beating violently, vibrating his ribcage, shaking the child whom he held close. The birds began to beat their wings. They stirred aloft. Swooped. Around him they flew, each joining their neighbor, proliferating, as more and still more appeared out of the nether-regions of the closets, the rafters, the nooks. They turned in an ever-widening maelstrom. Feathers rained down. The air thickened with a blizzard of glossy barbs and quills. The hovel’s rib-planks shook above, the nails bent from bitten wood. The walls groaned. The whole roof was suddenly swept off by the storm of circling birds. The sun’s clarity shocked him. The birds turned, spiraled upward, higher. For miles around, the sky filled with them, seemingly hatched out of the emptiness, gathering over the earth into a vortex. They cloaked the day’s white luster. Obscured the sun. Like circling wolves they revolved in the air creating a whirlwind, a demiurge.

Macon leaned against the battering forces of wind. He reached for a support. The pillar he grasped proved unstable, illusory. It vanished into an upward suck of debris. With his other hand, he clung to the child. Macon lowered himself, balancing. Cleaved to the ground. He clambered for the child’s shawl, tucking it underneath him. But the child tumbled out, slipped away. It was snatched by an updraft. Ascended. Through the grime and turbulence he watched the child glide skyward into the onslaught, into the calm eye of the hurricane. The child, levitating peacefully amidst those talon-footed dervishes, grinned and even laughed. Somehow, despite the deafening roar, Macon heard its small voice coo. The child no longer shared his visage, or the visage of any ancestor he recognized—its beaming countenance skewed before his vision, altering into the face of that mangy bastard, Hoover. The child seemed to sail on a haze of pink-tinged cloudlets and hummingbirds spinning like electrons, surrounded by a vortex of terrible angles, skyward, borne away through the churning squall produced by every fowl and feathered thing around it, rising through the center of the storm, serenely assumed into the zenith of a blazing cone of light.

Will Cordeiro has recent work appearing or forthcoming in AgniCimarron ReviewThe Cincinnati ReviewDIAGRAMThe Threepenny Review, and elsewhere. Will’s full-length collection Trap Street won the 2019 Able Muse Book Award. Will co-edits the small press Eggtooth Editions and currently lives in Guadalajara, Mexico.

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