from The Labyrinth

Several bull-headed men in lab coats emerge from the labyrinth. One of them unshackles me and points to the entryway. Three bull-headed men to my right take notes on their clipboard. One bull-headed man is standing beside me with a measuring tape. He measures my height and the width of my shoulder blades and the circumference of my neck. His hands look like my mother’s hands but he is not my mother. He delivers his results and his voice sounds like my father’s voice but he is not my father. The one who unshackles me points again to the entryway and I enter. I palm the walls of the labyrinth for hours. I try to memorize the cracks and corners but each wall looks like the others connected to it and my bare feet aren’t leaving any prints in the dirt. It is impossible to know whether I’m coming or going. I am sinking below the labyrinth and floating above it, my body suspended, my hands and my feet reaching for the ground.

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.