Suicide Birds

BY Joseph Dante

Only here do you sweat when it rains. Only here do the doves crash into your car like kamikaze.
     We used to face an easier irony: the weather was still a cage, but the streets were always sky-wide and breathing. You could stand in the middle of this place, reach up, and almost press the patches of pink like buttons on a control panel.
     After the storm, Enid dug graves in the backyard for the skulls. Mom didn't appreciate this newfound morbidity of hers, but I could only laugh when she started making bets with bones on Auntie Christine's poker table. There was nothing left to do except play games with the wreck around us. Mom still tried to treat it like church anyway, kneeling and moaning in the decapitated gazebo.
     I was drying up, but I grabbed Mom's wrist and tried to thank her. I thanked her for keeping me soft and keeping me close for so long. It was her leash that allowed me to remain, one of the few boys with no muscles that could be left alone. When she wouldn't stop, I turned to Enid's pile on the table. She was stacking her bets until they started to resemble the gazebo top that had been torn away. I had the idea of kicking it into splinters and shouting into her good ear, but I collapsed in the grass instead.
     I licked at one of my remaining fingers and forced myself to listen to the lake as long as I could. I listened to it gurgle like a gut with old hunger, falling asleep watching it rise like a ribcage.


Joseph reads "Suicide Birds"

Joseph Dante is a writer from South Florida. His work has been featured or is forthcoming in PANK, Pear Noir!, Monkeybicycle, Paste, and elsewhere. He has been a reader for Hobart in the past and is currently a reader for Keyhole Press.