On Top of the World
Len Kuntz

My 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 afar. 
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 ethereal playground.

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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