On Top of the World
sister didn't die. She wasn't strangled and left for dead in the
woods as the news reported.
Instead, she left this world at age seven. She jumped on a hot air
balloon that was different from other hot air balloons. This one
took her outside the atmosphere and my sister got to visit the planets and
stars close up, the ones that had brought her so much wonder from
But now, floating in the hot air balloon, Sis window-shopped, taking her
time with each one and especially Pluto who had recently been kicked out
of the Big Boy Planet Club. She told Pluto her best jokes, trying to
cheer Pluto up. She hummed and sang old '70s songs. She
tickled the scruff of his gray-white chin until Pluto gave in and started
giggling causing the other celestial bodies to convulse with similar glee
so that we on earth became the recipients of all that shimmer and light
over our heads.
My sister caused this. Just ask Pluto or Mars or the moon or any
other star or planet and they will tell you. They will say my sister
is among them right now, spinning, that she's made of diamonds, and that
now and then she can be heard humming a Carpenter's tune while gliding the
Len Kuntz's most recent book is I'M NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE AND NEITHER ARE YOU,
a collection of stories. He lives in Washington state.
Read his postcard.
Detail of photo on main page courtesy
of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
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