The neon from the carnival lights, bright against the black sky, hurts my eyes when I stare at it for too long. It’s hard to tell where the light ends and the black begins; no matter how hard I try to hone in on the exact place where they meet, the edge never reveals itself. Sometimes our love is like that, too; even when I want to, I can never really find where the good bits stop and the bad bits start.
It feels as though something horrible is about to happen; the air is heavy, laden, just as it is before the breaking of a storm. I like storms. I remember fondly those moments when I would sit, as a child, on the porch swing with my mother and we’d watch the thunder clouds roll in across the fields. With the defiance found only in youth, I’d scream back towards the lightning with all the breath in my lungs, as my mother shook her head.
You have to whisper to the thunder, she’d say. That’s the only way it can hear you.
My wife looks like my mother, a little.
The heavy air feels hot on my skin, and I worry my hands are too clammy to reach out and grasp the woman next to me. I do it anyway. As I do, I say that ferris wheels aren’t supposed to move this fast, my darling. They aren’t supposed to fly.
Cotton candy flavored kisses, corny lines like you complete me, cocaine drips and my corduroys rubbing together with that shhhk, shhhk. The drugs were her idea, I swear. Something about shaking the monotony of Saturday night rituals, of having a suburban crisis of faith.
Stopped at the top, I stare deep into the sky. It’s moving, like a Rorschach without the white. Pulsing, and at the very edges of my eyes, from below, the neon creeps into view. Who knew a glimpse into the abyss could be bought with a single carnival ticket. Here I thought it would cost me a white picket fence.
these words by Josh Elyea were inspired by the work of Lin Bao Ling
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