I know at once that I shouldn’t look, but his shirt is off and the paper white of his skin is superimposed with the feeling of an insect, his mouth is working, he’s laughing, but every sound has stopped, all I see is: his skin, an insect, the wind. This is, I recognize, the beginning: the recognition of a repetition of beauty, and ability to recognize beauty in what is wrong. There is a frightening silence, my chest filled with syrup, a votive: the recognition of what is wrong. The paper white of his sin like a jacket and what I recognize over/above is a mounting beauty, and below: everything that happens. There is the crushing of beauty everywhere and below that: everything happens. Everything is beautiful and crushing me below, below everything: this happens. I recognize this as not a beginning, but instead as a thing that probably happens. Near the middle or end, when everything converges: a caging sound of happiness

Andrea Kneeland is the author of the Birds & the Beasts (Cow Heavy 2011) and a web editor for Hobart. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Annalemma, Quick Fiction, Ammerican Letters & Commentary, Caketrain, Barrelhouse, The Collagist, Wigleaf, and Smokelong Quarterly.