Issue #67

Summer 2018

a balloon

by drew bevis

You begin as a balloon blown up to a fair and healthy size by a young woman with still wet lipstick. The stain remains at your knot. The air inside of you is warm and full of milky oxygen. You get bopped around from here to there, but it does not hurt and you do not feel the shifts too hard on account of air resistance and your elastic. A string is tied to your end and you are happy to be pulled. On the way, you pull things in yourself. Small things: memories; ideas, both yours and others'; a catchy melody. These things weigh you down, but you don't mind, for you have a little red wagon to travel in. Soon, with the addition of more and more memories and ideas, you outgrow the wagon. The forces at play begin to fill you with helium to alleviate the heaviness. It stretches you out something awful, but at least you can move now. Suddenly, as you lift towards the sky, you realize your string is in tatters. The young woman has long left you for other balloons, other things to make warm and heavy. So you begin to float higher and higher. At the edges of the atmosphere, the view is something to marvel at. You did not realize that it would be something to marvel at. It makes you feel much too small, so you turn your gaze towards the void. Once totally clear of the atmosphere, you collapse in on yourself and lose your air. Vaccuum sealed, you have nothing to buffer the things you carry from the thing you call your skin. Thus everything you've ever held touches everything else and it is a lot to deal with. It takes time, but you find a mantra that works and clear your head. You imagine a soft blanket of shearling filling the nooks and crannies inside of you. Woolen veins of warmth course through you. Passing the moon, you see the crevices and craters and it seems like just yesterday you learned the word metaphor. You take the long way around. For years it seems like you are heading towards Mars, but one day you look up and it's in the rearview. The asteroid belt is full of obstacles and other shit. You take a moment to survey. You take what is left of your rope and come up alongside a boulder-size hunk of metal. You throw a lasso. You tighten. You yank. You fly. Everything's moving fast. A reel of film on a governorless projector. You must steady your insides even more to achieve some kind of stasis with the outside world. You slow everything inside down. You shut down most parts and only turn them on when they're needed. Eventually, by Pluto, you've forgotten what most of your parts do. You flick switches haphazardly, your electricity misfires. Memories flash and fizzle. Ideas remain, but are clouded and hazy. Like a water damaged watch, time is not what it used to be.

Author Bio


drew bevis is a writer out of umass-boston's mfa program. he likes to think that a word is never stronger then when its grasp on its own meaning is weak, that there are no rules beyond those which we accept as rules, and that if you think your book could be made into a movie, write a fucking screenplay. find more of his work at