A Universe to devour

Dreams ignite like a Chagall construction.
You and I, flying over rooftops.
Exploding in colour.
I lay you down and crawl into your skin.
Kissing you intimately, feeling my way.
Your body entices and your heart entraps.
Yet it is your soul I’m after.
The bruised, damaged, fraying thing.
Shaking and asking to have life breathed in.
Frantically unable to be cupped in my hands.
It runs from me like a feather on the breeze.
Escaping like a Bharatanatyam movement.
Colours and light, burning my sad lonely grey into nothing.
Love on your fingertips, sticky from the centre of me.
Though this may be transitory, I give in and go under.
Falling for you again as the waves crash over.
Disappearing in such wonder and the perfumed smoke of you.
Coughing up clouds of devotion, and descending like the setting sun.

A Tragic discourse in a glorious demise

Tip the ghost honey, it likes to attract the bees.
Distracts from the different coloured tears.
That run on invisible cheeks.
Where were you when I needed you the most?
Negating our history and the whole of the 21st century.
An incredible void, you chose not to cross.
The chasm left when you moved our luggage.
Years of mangled words and old Christmas ornaments.
Rolling around and cracking, fragile to touch.
Treasured with limitations.
With these thoughts, who needs enemies?
The echoes act like heroin.
Dipped in paraffin.
Taking me up.
Leading me to explode.
Covering you now in glitter and sad reflections.

Craving miracles

She began to lie.
Her fingers clasped in on themselves, feeling the strength and weakness in her grasp.
The church, empty now of all souls except those she had come to talk with.
Tears brimming in the eyes, they stung like the holy water welled in the font.
Singeing the new-borns brought in against their will.
The lies came quick and easy.
Words of living danced from her mind and mouth.
Painting the walls the velvet colour of sin which faith knew all too well.
Her prayers circled her and danced above to illuminate the ceiling of the church.
All gold and crisp like an autumn leaf caught in the sun.
Little sparks born from the light that was housed inside of her.
She lied by saying she could cope with this still.
The betrayal to god was that she thought she could go on.
But he knew, and he listened still.
As did all the saints breathing there like ghosts.
She clenched and fumed, crying all the while.
It was hard for her to know someone who knew her better than herself.
But would not wish her well.
For god would not lift a finger in her plight.
He didn’t then, he wouldn’t now.
No matter how many tears flowed in that church.
They would dry all the same.
Those walls would hear his name, again and again.
She lay down, and closed her eyes; using a bible as a small pillow.
Breathing in the dusty time of incense and pieces of flesh.
She waited for the miracle much promised, what better place to wait.
She lies there still, but do not wake her.
For she may still be dreaming.

Tragedy ending on this

As the city hums, and chokes the flowers.
This mind refracts.
Stuttering like the trains which snake beneath my feet.
Beneath my bones which rot like timbers of time.
Belonging to a place that clouds and coughs.
Surrounding like a multitude of sin.
This is what I wanted after all.
But the magpies pull the treasures away.
Spiriting the sparkle skyward like seasons.
I feel old and rooted.
Yet freshly hewn and tender.
A ghost of a ship stranded in an international airport.
Someone’s lost luggage.
Unclaimed but missed.
What if the cracks and voids are filled.
By only nonsense and the spit of this current time.
Fuzzy images and words that make no sense line my eyes.
And roar while I try to sleep.
This sleep, this dream.
Shaking in and out of a nightmare.
Which I chose to play.

Drenched in departure

Through wanderings of a hallowed heart.
Untie the science while the rain comes.
Let the silence smother you.
Or little taps of life, crash on your skin.
Blanketing this world in a quiet monsoon.
Layering and prevailing over all before.
Let it seep into those muddy bones.
Washing everything.
Purify and personifying a state of being.
Fresh like holy water.
Stinging the sins like acid.
Drown and choke underneath those silent waters.
A vast tide that you wash over me.
Those days that were always numbered.
The borrowed time and delicious decay.
How sour those words met my mouth.
When I asked you to leave.
Tying my tongue into confused states.
Separate systems and traumatic time zones.
A flight into a new world.
Where the clouds coughed around me.
And the skylarks sung our demise.
God raining down sad tears.
That had been building for some time.

Bord / Edge

Debout sur cette rive une fois de plus.
Sur le bord de l’existence.
Je voussens dans le vent.
Je me sense arrosé dans le marée.
Est-ce que je me vois marcher sur cette plage?
Ou je me sens perdu dans un million de grains de sable.

Stand on this shore once again.
On the edge of existence.
I’m standing in the wind.
I feel watered in the tide.
Do I see myself walking on this beach?
Or feel lost in a million grains of sand.

Suffer this consequence

I see the eye dart to the corner of the room.
The words tumbled too frantically, too concocted.
Emotionally too soon.
Sometimes, is never quite enough.
I can live with never, never is stable.
Structured and tragic.
We pave our paths with bricks of never likely.
Now a sigh follows a kiss, and with this, I know.
The illusion fills out.
Like fog trapped in a jar.
Making my soul opaque.
The eyes that darted roll over then.
They should have gone blinded for all they did.
Such sinners in the sockets.
What was once, is now rejected.
Cast out like needful blood for another.
A life to suckle on the sweet blood of a dying Christ.
Me, crucified here on the beach, which beneath, lays a million stones.
The remnants of angel bones, and dinosaur teeth.
Monsters who lost It all.
But never knew until it was too late to cry out.
Hurtling through space, like a spec in god’s eye.

Soar & subside

Falling down the waterfall, shaken out of grace.
Sliding, spiraling and collapsing. Leaving nothing but a trace.
Tumbling down speedily, in disgust from your eyes.
Crawling out of this bitter, purgening demise.
Escaping into nothingness, fleeing into dreams.
Tasting the fruit of freedom. Splitting from the seams.
Moving now a certain way, to expand these wings.
Unfurling fraying feathers, precious aerodynamic things.
Falling once again, from ledges beyond time.
Saying goodbye to shadows, and the ghosts that haunt this mind.
Realisation of collapse, braking bark from the knowledge tree.
Not a sad solitary boat of sand, on your egotistical sea.
I fully bow out, take my leave now and resign.
Plunging into tomorrow knowing, I must fall to begin the climb.

Somewhere in this memory

The snow had begun to fall early that evening. Though the sun had long since slumbered down, it was around six o’clock when the few flutters of winter dusting started to whip past his window. Daniel had left the curtains open like he did most evenings, watching the wild sky drip away beyond the horizon. It had rained lightly that day, and it took a while for the snow flurries to leave any impression on the ground. But as he watched from his small window, his face illuminated by the Christmas lights, he noticed as people came out of their houses to investigate the snow.

A few kids ran about under the streetlights, already bunching up snow into cold balls to throw at one another. It was a shame, Daniel thought to himself, that Christmas had passed already, and the snow had waited until after it had passed. Another bleak grey day that offered only the magic of the season, rather than from the endless possibilities of the weather.

He went to the kitchen and made himself a spiced tea. The smell of cinnamon and spices hung in the air, warm and inviting. He then went into the main room to where the Christmas tree was, sipping the tea which burnt his lip. He’d put it up alone this year, the first time the ceremony had ever been performed that way. He looked at the huge golden bell that sat a top of the tree; sparkling, like everything else did, in the strung Christmas lights that dotted the place. He couldn’t remember ever buying that bell, yet it appeared every year to top the tree they always had.

He sighed and placed his tea on the side, pulling one of the boxes towards him. He hated taking the tree down, or the Christmas decorations. As a child he’d always pleaded to his parents to keep them up longer. But they were bound by the laws of the season and the far away court, and all the decorations had to be down by the twelfth night. Why? No one could ever tell him, that was just how it was. Yet this was how things were now, every year it seems. Him, alone taking down the very things that were put up to enliven his life, if only for a few weeks.

He started to take off some of the ornaments, some of which he remembered putting on the tree even as a child. These must be so old he thought suddenly, vaguely aware of his own descent now into adulthood. His phone began to hum into life nearby, but he ignored it. He wasn’t in the mood to argue again, and that’s the only thing that phone was offering to him this evening. He placed some of the baubles carefully into their homes, snug in a box that would keep them safe for another year. He turned up the music he had playing, his new tradition; Christmas songs to ring out in the stripping of the tree. In a way, such a violating act. The trauma of the season.

He hummed along to some of the carols, there religious message washed away now he thought in the progression of the years. He felt old, and tired. Like his youth had slipped away without him even noticing it. He might as well be boxing up his memories instead of these decorations, freezing all he ever wanted and all he dreamed off in these magical days of Christmas. Spun up like candied sugar and placed away safely, to be removed once a year along with his heart.

He sat down on the rug; patches of glitter peppered the tufts still from the wrapping paper that had been destroyed last week. He closed his eyes as the choir music filled the room, taking him to a place in his memory. He watched as his younger self ran down the stairs, eager to see if Father Christmas had been. His parents, holding hands and smiling as they watched their children tear at the presents that had been carefully placed hours before beneath the silver Christmas tree. Though the tree was fake, over time it had faded and fallen apart, much like the marriage and the moments he now saw in his mind. The presents, along with this love within the family had been torn apart and forgotten about also. Thrust up each year like some special spectacle. Packed away when all were done.

His phone rang again, bringing him back. He opened his eyes and looked at his phone on the table, lighting up and convulsing in an epileptic dance. He ignored it again and went back to the tree to finish off. The lights were always the trickiest. It was easier with someone helping, and fun too he thought as he remembered how they had joked around putting the lights over one another, pretending they were trees themselves. The time when one of the fuses had gone and the whole house had been plunged into darkness, not before the sparks had succeeded in frightening them both.

Lights were always a pain to put away, but he resigned himself that it would be another year before he had to worry about them, and balled them into the old shoebox he kept, sealing the lid and the doom of the lights till next year. The rest of the decorations found their way into boxes relatively quickly, only a few things were placed around the small house as it was. He nearly forgot about the wreath on the door, only remembering it when he glanced outside to see how the snow was. It had come down pretty heavy now and he thought about going for a walk later when he was finished, to enjoy the winter landscape.

He finished his tea and snatched up his phone, looking at the missed calls. He sent a message quickly and then stood back looking at the barren tree, back now to its natural coat. They usually had a fake tree, but this year they had gone for the real thing. It stood now, just a hair smaller than him, shedding pine needles below itself like some defecating potted creature.  He closed his eyes and could smell the aroma of the tree, the fading pine of a dying spirit. He wondered where it had grown, what bird or beast had called it home in the time it grew to its seasonal perfection. To be adorned and beheld for a few weeks only to then be thrown out with the other junk of the season, left to decompose in the street awaiting to be whisked away to somewhere out of sight. In that moment he saw the death and cruelty of Christmas. How things were cherished, only for the moment, then forgotten about and placed away. His phone nearby rung a reply, and he glanced at the preview from where he stood. A small tear appeared, and rolled down his cheek, the air leaving his lungs before a gasping inhale.

Daniel went to the French doors and cast them both ajar dramatically. The cold winter wind swept into the room, and some snowflakes fell onto his carpet. He snatched up the tree by the middle trunk and took it out into his garden. His bare feet sank deeply into snow that had settled already, but Daniel did not care. He went back inside and picked up matches that rested by the Christmas candles. He returned back to the garden and struck three matches at one time, letting the oxygen breathe life into the flame. He threw them onto the tree and lit some more. The snow whipped around both him and the tree, but eventually the flames took, and it began to burn. Flames licking the innards of the branches as he stood in the snow that numbed his feet. Drifting from his living room, ‘O Holy Night’ lifted into the air and encased them both in that moment. Frozen for that cold blink in the eye of Jesus, who watched on in seasonal despair.


Taken from ‘Impermanence of things

Sparkle

In the trees, no; in the sky.
The veins are hiding it.
The light shining like the eyes of God.
It’s there all the time, do you never see it?
No, but I feel it.
Washing in my bloodstream, collecting like wax.
Divine.
Sublime.
Yet I see it now, the great orb above.
We came from it, that far off place.
Its essence coats our skin like angel dust.
A pleasant peppering, are you sure it’s those shores we stole from?
Can you not tell, does the rock in your pocket not breathe like that mountain?
Torn from the mass, yet special in it’s size.
It’s like a pebble in my mind.
Like an egg, beautiful and full of life.
It shines too, like gold.
That is the light, that is what we are.
Then why is it sometimes dark?
Dark you say?
Yes, black sometimes like oil.
That would be your own fears, covering what needs to be free.
Then let it be.
Yes, let it will be.

Apathetic by design

These boys and girls, with hidden smiles and transparent trauma.
Promise nothing of tomorrow.
Selling chalky kisses in crises centres, splattered across the map.
Which you now trace your fingers across.
Finding washed out welcomes in every state.
At least those that you remember.
Your phone calls go unanswered, avoided like Monday mornings.
They move away and sigh long lamentful breaths.
Dropping almond eyes to the ground.
Feet shuffling to a sound of a country mourning.
A country held prisoner to the promises of a thief.
Now tomorrow feels scary, fluorescent feelings that fold like paper moons.
The tide turns too soon.
And you return once more to the ocean, picking the salt from your eyes.
Counting the tears that drip like a million wishes into a well.
Like the one you cast into as a child.
Shining bright like Christmas lights.
When everything seemed touched by magic.

Fading


FADE

Hold me and heal me.
Chase the darkness away.
Rock me to sleep.
Cut your wrists and then stay.
Forever in this palace of darkness and time.
Locked in a dream.
All beautiful and mine.
Forget all the world, with its promise of pain.
Hold me and fade.
Like a tear in the rain.

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Sometimes, only tears

Throw it away.
It hangs heavy in your hands.
A broken love all torn and heavy.
Easy to let it slip into the folds of time.
It came there suddenly, the tear in their eye.
Hanging like a beautiful jewel in the corner of the fleshy oyster.
Threatening.
Threatening to tumble, fall and disappear.
Smudge into a cheek or dripped away with fear.
The silence kisses the skin, and darkness breathes upon the neck.
An invasion hurried by the darkest forces.
Throw it away.
Wouldn’t it be better.
The pumping flower struggling to survive.
Wet with dew drops birthed in this moment.
The tears speak of a hurt, unseen yet complete.
A collapse inside like twin towers.
Don’t listen to the breaking.
How can they throw it away.
Something they cannot call their own.
Wouldn’t it be better.
If they stayed?

Fright night

All year round he kept to himself.
Quiet and content, like a book on a shelf.
It was Halloween though when the tables turned.
And in his head, those thoughts had churned.
To live it up, go mad and wild.
To put on costumes, like any other child.
He loved that night when he fitted in.
And wasn’t shamed or drenched in sin.
He could go out and talk to others.
His friends, his mum and all his brothers.
Accepted him and played for ages.
Some souls to flick through his dusty pages.
It was Halloween he loved and longed for.
The skulls and sweets; and dismembered gore.
He felt alive and loved the freedom.
That came with the scares of the creepy season.
For that was the time he loved the most.
For poor old Charlie was such a lonely ghost.

Island


ISLAND

This fear of limitless emotion.
Washes at the shore of my soul.
I fought a war for our love.
Raging like a storm on the face of time.
And now I fall like an island in the sea.
Alone and bare.
Washed by a tide, a poison of loneliness.
Never more to welcome the sun above.
I can only skim sad pebbled tears out to you.
There on the horizon.
That sight of hope, which will never land on my coast.
I glow, and diminish through this all.
Soon nothing but a shell.
That cannot even echo the sea.

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The Ballad of Nancy Stokes

Clouds rolled in, all over the small town.
The air alive with the smell of chip shop grease and cheap aftershave.
Saturday night, alive and loud.
But not Nancy.
At least not by the end.
Down in the canal.
Left to be found by old Mrs Clarence, off to the shops on a Sunday morning.
Her small dog Terry, sniffing at the banks where poor Nancy rested.
Her head covered in an old carrier bag.
But that night before, she’d dressed up to the nines.
No Tesco tiara threatened her styled hair.
Scraped back with moose and anticipation.
For the dancefloor awaited, and the eyes were wet.
Leary sockets soaked in her moves.
The jostles and gyrations of decade old motions learned to entice.
To ensnare.
Those oiled men, with receding hair.
The smell of socialisation and modernity.
Nancy left her friends, who’d found Jesus in the bottom of a vodka bottle.
And in the stall of the toilets which stank of desperation and piss.
Where sticky kebab hands soiled their jeans and youth.
Where Nancy went, nobody knows.
But they left her some of her clothes at least.
Soaking in the green waters of the canal.
The old Robinson factory looming over her grave.
Passer-by’s flicking cigarette ends into the water, sizzling near her empty soul.
Not knowing she was there.
In the sludgy brown surface.
Where Mrs Clarence found her.
Nancy Stokes. The 40-year-old girl who loved to dance.
But never learned to swim.

No sound but escape

The last gasp of a city, stifled through individual disdain.
Strapped to that engine of pain.
The eternal clock that moves everyone forward.
The teacup, that cannot un-shatter.
God’s will, the devil’s plan.
Darkness leaking up out of the drains.
Black balloons to cloud our uneventful skies.
Thoughts like a bruise.
Blooming and fostering more on a delicate mind.
They wait around for the heart to break.
The lies to normalise.
The violence to wrap itself around.
Like fingers of priests, going where they shouldn’t.
You want to leave this place.
Crumble the buildings that warren your life.
Cough out the diseases and the dirt and take a train.
Over tracks on water, the straight edges leading away.
To what, you don’t know.
New spaces to inhabit, to sink a soul into.
Uncertainty, the first sign of freedom.
Lighting fireworks in the mind.
Soon the metropolis an old family member.
Seen only on special occasions.
Lonely in your memory, and very nearly forgotten.

What you find inside

It’s not like they could tell he’d been crying.
Pomegranate tears had evaporated on his cheeks.
Left to circumstance and suspicion.
The usual vulnerability crept in like the cold.
He’d wanted to disappear.
Pull his bones from this earth and take the plane westward.
But that knowing.
That fundamental chorus of doubt kept him seated.
Wounded and defeated.
The table was set for him and god now.
A devil on his shoulder painting the walls in his mind red.
Each word that drifted from his mouth.
Drew out feathered lines of inquiry and distaste.
In the mouths and minds of others.
With that future transparency, walking away again.
It was like, schoolyard mornings and lost mittens.
Passing cares, wrapped in their own silence.
The truer placed words that smelled ugly.
Circling the whole.
An inevitable destination, posing as something great.
Through distinction and the dying light, he now understands.
He was never greater than.

Heaven is shut/open

The plane took off, soaring into the sky as the sun died on the horizon. All was safe, all parts working. Wheels stored safely as the streaming sound of pressure encased them. He looked out of the window and watched the ground give way. He sighed. He’d hoped for a failure. Maybe later when they were out over the ocean, no chance of rescue there. No one ever survived a plane crashing into the sea.

Closing his eyes, he saw their face. Lost and troubled as the chaos of the street bustled by. The taxi had hurried them, throwing his bags into the boot hastily before cars honked behind. They’d said their goodbyes already upstairs. Held on to each other as the tears threatened. At least he’d held on. He was unsure now how hard they had pulled into them. Deep inside his brain a voice had whispered ‘they want you to leave’.

Opening his eyes, he saw the seatbelt sign switch off, the little ‘bing’ sounding all around him but nowhere particular. The plane levelled off and he saw the land corrode into the ocean. The lights from the city behind already blurring into a distant memory. People got up, walking up the gangway as if their restrictiveness demanded a rebellion in movement.

He turned again to face the window, the little tears of condensation streaking backward like the ones in his eyes.

The flight was uneventful, and despite his longing, did not crash into a blazing wreck into the sea. He was somewhat thankful, no need for others to descend into nothingness because of his own wants and needs. The country had changed now of course, and he felt like a stranger in his own land. He felt as if he’d outgrown that little island, when in truth, it had all shrunken into ambivalence.

The next few weeks were a haze to him. He slept longer than his body needed. He ate less than what was required. The maddening howls of loneliness engulfed, playing out a wicked pageant each night. Pagan dances of despair trooped through his mind as he imagined the worst. And the weeks fell away into months. The sun rose and died each day, giving way to the moon which seemed more allusive and tauntful. Appearing and disappearing with differing brilliances.

And nothing changed.

No word came. No celestial movement of fate. He prayed of course, every day. Wishing, hoping, threatening…apologising. Words tumbled from his mouth like a waterfall, lost in the roar of tears that welcomed the rising pool of pain. He was confused and sad. These descriptions falling short of the abject horror that they encompassed.

He got up late one Wednesday. His bed had become a grave, and he pushed away the covers like soil from his skin. The weather was grey, and he saw little movement outside his window. He could hear the birds whistling their busy tunes and saw a couple of collared doves pecking away at the grassy bank at the side of his house. The birds circled, one seeming to protect the other as it scoured the grasses for something.

This was his life he thought there in that moment. The tragedy of nothingness. The on repeatness of filling hours that stretched like days.

Sitting down on his bed, he joined his hands together. They had marks on now of course, bloodied scabs that were struggling to heal. Punches to the ground and walls in frustration. His hands stung when he washed them always, bits of skin pealing off and disappearing down the drain to their own hellish adventures. Mostly he would pray in his head, but this morning the words came forth strong, if not shaky. He prayed for others, for those he loved. He asked why his circumstance refused to alter. He prayed to be sent the needs to change his situation. If god was refusing to give him what he needed, then at least give him the chance to change it for himself. He saw the light, felt the feel of god’s hands upon him and trickle into his heart.

This prayer lasted a long time. The doves had flown away by the time he had opened his eyes again, and a light rain had begun to pepper his window. The house groaned around in its ordinariness. Things were quiet. Things were the same.

He went about the day, holding onto something which he would never tell anyone. Like something stolen and now hidden in his pocket, he buried this secret in his heart which struggled to beat in a comfortable rhythm. The day came and went. The tasks and encounters rose and fell with the usual absurdity.

It wasn’t until the following night when what he had tucked away bloomed again. A flower of thought that had grown from the thick mud of despair. He had played the game of this life, by the rules he never agreed to. He was of service each day, giving and giving; yet never receiving. It never used to bother him for he had much to give. But when you lose everything, you become stricter on what you give away.

Now he felt like the coconut husks in his garden, pecked at each day by the birds of life. Strips of him torn away, revealing nothing underneath. His prayers had gone unanswered. But he stopped that thought then. No, this was not true. His prayers had been answered, when he prayed for others. When he gave and prayed and wanted the best for other people. They got what they needed. Even the rotten ones he was obliged to love. As if blood bound them in an unspoken covenant.

Prayer works. But not for him.

When he wanted…no, needed something. It never came to him. It was as if the gates of heaven had closed to him in a display of much unfairness. Why was he so beyond getting what he needed to make it through the day?

This thought stuck in his head, like food stuck in a throat. Uncomfortable and unpleasant. He was angry at God. But who wasn’t at times? But he felt more than anger, a betrayal almost. He fell asleep that night, not pooled in his own tears like always, but shaking into a fevered dream of reckoning.

He woke early, the rhythm of his heart thundering him awake. His phone was silent, barren. Nothing in the night had sprung forth despite the difference in hours. What were they, seven hours behind? They lived their day while he slept dreaming of them. They dreamt of something else while he navigated through the day thinking of nothing but them.

Rolling out of bed he went to the bathroom to wash his hands. Purifying his body, washing away the dreams and nightmares. He looked in the mirror…..

A: shut

What stared back at him made him weep. A man stood there, but a wasted vision of a human. Sunken eyes, gaunt expression. As if the sadness had spoiled from the inside, wasting away the flesh. He noticed one of his eyes was a milky colour, his once hazel views into his soul fading away into a grey of nothingness.

What to do now, he thought to himself. Brush his teeth, fix his hair. Get changed and through another day for what purpose? The same as yesterday, the same as tomorrow would be. A parade of nothing and inconsequence.

He knew he had fallen into a depression. He had hoped to shake it off or fall out of it again. Why was it so easy to get pulled in, and not the other way around? But something extra covered him today, that final magic element of hope seemed to have disappeared as he slept. A rousing song, or prayer usually helped. Taking stock and being appreciative. But no, something was different today. The same grey clouds outside, but something was different there in his bathroom. He could not even hear the birds that usually chattered and warbled beyond the walls.

He took a razor and made two clean cuts, long and deep. It was the kindest thing he could give himself, and the biggest apology.

B: open

What reflected was a surprise to him. A little light glistened in his eyes and more haloed above him. He turned suddenly, hoping to catch a trail of it around his skull. But it seemed to follow him, quick as a flash. He felt it then, a sudden strength lift within his bones like they were being pumped with magical force. He made to pray but remembered suddenly and abstractly that God should not be called upon in a bathroom. Negative spaces.

Running from the room he collapsed onto the landing, the banister casting a ray of light over him like prison bars. He watched as they seem to lift upwards, the sun disappearing behind a cloud. The bars faded, and he closed his eyes.

He pictured the world above in his mind, the ascent of this man who had become so troubled and desperate. Hands guided him; little voices pushed him further until he was at the gates of heaven. With one push, the gates parted. He opened his eyes there and bowed to give thanks. He let the words tumble out, washing appreciation over his life.

How long he remained, he’d not known. The bars of light did not return, but when he stood, he noticed the sun was hovering off in the distance now beyond his window. He wiped the tears away and stood in his new world, just as his phone in the other room began to ring.