Hell Was on the Roof by Mark Henderson

It became quite a party, though it took
long enough—everyone coming over
to complain, showing me the cures for
various diseases that had fallen
into their drinks. “Save those!” I yelled. “Don’t pour
anything out!” A guy whose name I didn’t
know held his salad up for me to see
his first love’s cherry, cherishing it all
over again, tears in his eyes, in spite
of how mature he’d become since so long
ago. There was a bit of world peace—dusty,
falling apart at the edges—lying
on the carpet, forsaken many times
over for lack of excitement. It was
then that we all happened to look up and
notice the growing number of cracks. I
pulled down the ladder to walk up into
the ceiling. Who would have thought that all
the world’s prayers had been trapped in attics,
rusting like the cymbals of wind-up toy
monkeys with teeth that, even through the dust,
seem to glow in the dark? We refilled our glasses
and bowls before going outside to look up.

Mark Henderson teaches at Tuskegee University. He earned his Ph. D. at Auburn University with concentrations in American literature and psychoanalytic theory. He has poems published or forthcoming in Cozy Cat PressFrom Whispers to Roars, and Defenestrationism.net. He was born and raised in Monroe, Louisiana, and currently resides in Auburn, Alabama.