poem by Justin Runge


The other children believe Hell is a place of sorrow and quiet. I think it’s like being in a lake but not swimming. Heavying yourself, and how you have to close your eyes. And how the sound under a lake is other things moving, and even speaking to each other, but muffled. And even cold. The other children also talk about what Heaven is, and we all agree it is like a light. I think it’s like snow light, where you have to close your eyes at first but, slowly, you can open them.

I take my baths at night. It is hard to be covered in water because of my nose and knees. I call for Mother, who gets an electric blow dryer from the high cupboard and runs it across my head, and then up and down my back, and sometimes right at my face, like a flashlight, and I have to close my eyes. And sometimes she runs it over my whole body, which feels good after a bath, when the water turns cold, but I still sit in it.



Justin Runge