People Holding

The ant colony is taking up too much space on this bed. Everything is so busy. Dizzy. The color of Jupiter or Mars. The color F sharp.

My father’s coarse fingers belong to a carpenter whose job it is to hammer things. Like Jesus. Like people who are industrious and deft with their hands.

The other man swimming nearby is a mechanic, or perhaps his nails are just naturally grease-stained. What I know most is his tongue, like the pull and slap of saltwater taffy.

It’s foam mattress, but none of us are floating. The sheets sweat Please and quiver in their sonics, while the pillows disown their stuffing.

And me? I’m not there. I’m off the page thinking about the purr of an acapella song, how my brother would play slide trombone in the closet day upon day after our mother hanged.
Or maybe I am actually there. Maybe I’m burrowing inside the bedsprings, clutching the puzzled air the way ghosts man the knob, holding the door open for some of us.

Len Kuntz is a writer from Washington State and the author of four books, most recently the story collection, This is Why I Need You, out now from Ravenna Press. You can find more of his writing at

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