A Black Hole Moved Into the Neighborhood

I took with me everywhere else I’d been before. I’d bought a house on a corner and dismantled it like a stage-hand. When I spoke, my voice sounded like everything. When my neighbors asked if they should be worried, I said I wasn’t there to swallow and crush them into infinitesimal things. So, I stayed in the neighborhood, attended parties, went to meetings, got a job at the demolition company. The women in town wanted to date me, but they didn’t know why, or how. Once, someone asked if I ever wore clothes, and I responded that I was coated inside with everything I’d ever seen. Does anything ever come back? someone asked. I didn’t know. What was it like to be a black hole? I said the only word for it was “hungry.” I said my body was a library of the forgotten. When it rained, I would hover in the sky like a black sun so the neighborhood would remain dry. After thunderstorms, I felt like I had eaten a salad of butterflies. A few months in, the town asked me if I could visit the local landfill. Sure, I said, why not? I was a hero. I took in everything no one wanted. How old are you? someone asked. I said time is something that’s within me, crushed into a diamond. I had never been asked questions before. I didn’t understand the ambiguity, I didn’t know not-knowing. Do you breath? Will you die? Can you love? Is there such thing as an outside of you? I never thought about my own edges. There’s a lot of loneliness that rests on infinity. One night, three teenagers snuck inside of me and never came back. What if I’m a doorway to somewhere else? I told their mothers. They didn’t care. Soon, I started to feel the planets inside me, pearls in my stomach. I stopped sleeping. I would read long into the night about the impossible algebra of my body, how no one knew what or how or why or to what end. I wasn’t sure I was even a black hole anymore. I stopped being hungry. When it rained, it rained, and it poured over the trash falling from the bins. One day, I vanished, and in my place was a black pyramid of things that used to exist. It cracked the earth and made a spider web of dirt. It looked like a monument and towered above the neighborhood. The earth was an olive to its toothpick. The moon began to orbit around it. There were stairs, and people started to climb them. They walked until they disappeared into the sky. The climbers made spacesuits and climbed further. They had children, children in spacesuits, and the children kept climbing. They would talk about their lives, their goals, the things they loved, where they were going. Some wrote books about it, about what they would find. Some said it was the way to god. A few wrote books about the bottom, about the neighborhood they left and the people that remained. Then they kept climbing.

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Taylor Gorman is pursuing an MFA at Wichita State University.

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