Smash the cage but clip the wings. You’re not going anywhere, baby bird.

12 eggs in a dozen. A dozen dozen in a gross. A baker’s dozen for gluttony. 64 ounces in a pound, 128 in a gallon. Measurements are definite. Until they are relative. 165 pounds on Earth at 16.5% is 27 pounds on the moon. Not quite weightless. Not enough to fly. But perhaps enough to trick with an illusion.

But still, the mass remains the same.

Every week, the mass remains the same. The preaching to choirs and the illusions of hope for the insolent.

Will the book grow? Or have I sullied the soul with my own vile waste?


The day Marcy VanNeal died. Or so my digital gateway to the world tells me in its ones and zeros.

I can’t track her down. Can’t ask her the questions I don’t yet have but know would come if presented with the option to interrogate. What dates mattered to her? How much did she weigh? How many feet? How many inches? Calculate them together and maybe it would give me the answers I need, or maybe it would just send me further into this hole. A hole that goes much deeper than that in which I buried the book. Somewhere beneath this house, a hole leading to a space with a door leading to space.

Stars and comets, black holes and revelations.

Blackspire Cemetery. More than a potter’s field, as it contains names. But a place of death without denomination.

Was she burned? Or buried whole?

Can we even remain whole after we die? Beyond questions of the departure of a soul, what parts are taken from us by the diggers and scavengers in the mortuary?

A shell. That is all that remains. But perhaps all that we were to begin with.

A snail cannot live without its shell, but a hermit crab can.

Its shell is not its own. Its home, only temporary. A tight protective space until it becomes too small to inhabit. Growth sends us out from our safety nets, into the wild, terrible world.

Perhaps this home is ready to be left behind. Allow the book to sprout into something magnificent, a huge and towering and all-engulfing explosion of life only visible until it is seen.

Then, poof.

Gone. Like Marcy VanNeal.

1728 East 18th Street

Plot 467

172. Or is it 103510?

The division makes me uncomfortable. So unclean.

I grab my shovel, just in case, and spit in the corner on my way out.

Continue to Chapter Eleven