from The Labyrinth

My sister is not allowed to visit the labyrinth. I ask my parents if they are afraid she will see the labyrinth and start pacing with me. My mother responds in my father’s voice and my father responds in my mother’s voice. They tell me to make sure I clean my vegetables and drink plenty of underwear. I remind my father that I am always naked. I remind my mother that I am never hungry. We continue pacing and water starts flowing from the mouth of the labyrinth. It washes the dirt from my feet. My parents don’t seem to notice. A small animal approaches carrying a box containing my sister’s voice. This time she is done early with band practice and can they please come get her. This time she has broken her arm somersaulting from the neighbor’s trampoline, she is at the emergency room. This time she is scared, she says something has happened to Ryan. My parents leave again and my hands curl into loose fists. I continue pacing the labyrinth’s entrance. The water stops flowing. The box containing my sister’s voice collapses under my right foot or under my left foot.

Joshua R. Helms is an MFA candidate at the University of Alabama and an assistant editor for Black Warrior Review. His work appears or is forthcoming in Copper Nickel, elimae, and PANK Magazine.