When the Walls Tipped In Theo Ellin Ballew Macro-Fiction

map When the Walls Tipped In

by Theo Ellin Ballew

Published in Issue No. 244 ~ September, 2017
We were twelve years old when the walls tipped in we were twelve years old and then some. We were twelve years old but that couldn’t be right and our eyes, they were getting very bad. We were twelve years old or one hundred and twenty, we were twelve years old, perhaps. We were twelve years old and some redundancy of zeros and yes we knew our decimal’s place.

We were losing our place and the walls tipped in, we were twelve years old, or more. We were twelve years old or yes one hundred and twenty, we had one hundred, twenty years, behind us. We had one hundred and twenty years, the walls tipped in, they seemed just barely to touch. From where we lay on the pewter-colored floor, its laminated squares all marbled with white, they came in groups of nine and tipped up curving on their sides, nine squares making four edges curling. The walls, they seemed to touch.

Standing up we saw that they did not. Standing up our knees were scraping our bones against our bones, one hundred and twenty years and things were all too close, and our skin, it expanded, for some space. It folded in its sadly vain search for space.

And we were sure that everything was in its proper place when we began to feel our skulls through our skins. We felt them through our skins, our foreheads noses chins as between the walls we realized it was raining. And out we cried goodbye and hi as to our cheeks our stomachs climbed. The nausea would not become unstuck. It was sticking to our skins like plastic wrappers, we were twelve years old standing and all we wanted was some shelter, we wanted air but our skins we wanted dry. Excuse us, we said, could our nauseas be like tissue paper, dissolved in glue or in sweat. Could it show our touches, at least.

The rain cleared the sweat from our face. It dissolved our skin on our skull like tissue paper, excuse us, we said, we did not know our place. Our mind was dissolving by the second or the century with our skull showing through like glue. Excuse us, we said, but what is an end, excuse us, but our throat is too thick for our hands, excuse us but hello, and help. One hundred and twelve, our perspective was dissolving, to a vanishing, point, one hundred two, all roads go there. Our hands were reaching for our hair. And our skin receded, our skull rinsed in rain, while our mouth, it was quenched, of thirst.


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Theo Ellin Ballew has gone home to Los Angeles, CA; Baltimore, MA; Cincinnati, OH; Scottsdale, AZ; Tempe, AZ; Fresno, CA; Phoenix, AZ; Salt Lake City, UT; New Haven, CT; New York, NY; Cambridge, MA; Dallas, TX; Brooklyn, NY; and Denver, CO, in roughly that order. She currently lives in Mexico City, where she directs ORAL and writes.