about the author

Tess Patalano’s work has appeared in Everyday Genius, PANK, > kill author, and elimae, among others. She lives in Brooklyn. She tweets at #bobofalltrades.

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Down Here

Tess Patalano

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The sky and I are getting friendship tattoos. We are at the airport because an airplane is the largest needle. She is so used to them sliding across her surface, not breaking it, not even for a millisecond, not ever. We are both getting a line drawn in the desert. We giggle. We think about a line in the desert on the sky. We think about inked-on sand that never touches earth. It is the sky’s first time leaving the atmosphere. Up there without her it is blank. It is a white page kind of day I say, nudging her cold pocket. She stares at me, gathers her clouds close to her chest, holds them like a teddy. It will just be a series of tiny pricks it won’t hurt I say. She starts to breathe harder and her wind hurls me up fast. I clench my teeth in midair, waiting for her inhale to equalize me. She guides me back oscillating like a leaf, settles me into my seat. It will be OK I say, it won’t go all the way through, it never does. Red spills on the departure screen with the permanence of dried blood: delayed delayed delayed. The sky’s down here I shout to nobody in particular. We giggle. She splays herself onto the floor. I look down at her expansiveness. I want to jump into her, collect ice on my eyelashes when I’ve reached her the deepest. But I know that wouldn’t be friendship anymore. I look out the window and see a jumbo jet rolling towards the terminal. It’s our turn.

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