The package was rubber-banded, wrapped in plastic. He listened to the throaty croaks of river toads and the chirps of cicadas as ice water rattled the shore. The unsettling sirens of an ambulance screaming toward the vale. It drove through ghosts to get there. They lifted the body and hooked the straps on tight. Like skin. A cold arm raised the pallet from blackened knees. He was no longer clean and invisible. His mouth was open as if it were a fixed aperture, frozen in place. As if a spirit had possessed him. Other eyes behind his eyes. The breath of autumn sucked at his lungs. His pupils dilated. Salt stung them. Then they closed their doors. Tires popped the bubbles forming on the slick sand. In fact, his head felt more and more like a bubble than a face. There was a glitter in the river that left his soul dilapidated. A flash like every mortal creature waiting to rapture the limits of their universe and soar, beyond the perimeter, into a heaven that holds all forms of fulfillment and every unanswered prayer—a sudden brief burst of luminosity between the shadows. Foresight. An indeterminate nature. Some lacuna, the little bones. Shale, dividing his worry from what he will never find.


Benjamin DeVos is an interdisciplinary artist from Philadelphia, studying as a creative writing student at Temple University. His work is published or forthcoming in WhiskeyPaper, Black Denim Lit, Pantheon, and Buffalo Almanac, among others.