Ictal Phase

James Hoon

I am eight when mom takes
us to the drive-in theatre because Ben
insists on seeing Memento.

A Hollywood man dips a needle
in ink that is as black as
the night wrapped around our van and
my brother, covered in the backseat—

Mom is confused when
the scenes jump from color to gray
back to color, asking if my brother
can follow the movie he was
so set on seeing, but there’s only static.

Ben’s body sleeps against the door.
His head presses the window,
balmy moonstruck breathing.
Headlights pass showing his
dilated pupils steered toward the sky,
heaven, the face of Something Greater.

His neck twitches;
words crawling toward his smacking
lips trying to escape like the prayer
we forget before bed.

I choke on “God” or “mom” or “help”.
On screen, Leonard Shelby says,
“I have to believe in a world outside my own mind.”
The radio cuts out when the car
battery dies and Ben convulses.

James Hoon is a junior creative writing major at Susquehanna University in central Pennsylvania, where he's lived all his life. He's the assistant editor for Flagship, Susquehanna University's travel writing magazine.