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a letter tied to a balloon

The following submission was presented in such a way that we couldn’t duplicate on our site. To preserve the format we loved, we have attached it as it was submitted. The text is duplicated below for accessibility.

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The text reads as follows:

The Book Of a letter tied to a balloon
Translated by Lewis Figun Westbrook

Chapter 1
1 I call it begging most days, i
start it like a letter.
2 Dear God, Father Mother
Brother Sister.
3 Dear Friend Family Enemy.
4 Dear Person People Love.
5 Dear Life, Living Death
6 Dear slow your breathing,
do not fall to your knees.
7 I am not standing, not even
grasping my hands
8 There is no altar, no
sacrifice unless you count
9 I tell myself I am strong, I
do not need you.
10 You, all powerful. You, a
promise to never stray.
11 I do not need you or your

Chapter 2
1 Please forgive me father If
you are there, if you do care.
2 For wanting to be something
everyone tells me is wrong.
3 For being wrong.
4 I always wondered what the
forbidden fruit tastes like.
5 Like he/him pronouns or
getting to say I’m gay.
6 If it somehow tastes like
7 I asked so many times for
signs, for pillars of flame and
salt mounds.
8 Asked so many times as I
continued living like I knew
9 I don’t know.
10 I don’t know who I am
writing this to because I don’t
know if you are there or if a
God can even be kind.
12 I want you to be.
13 I want you to send one of
those hugs from no one at all.
14 From a ghost.

Chapter 3
1 It’s been a long time since
I’ve been happy, and didn’t
you say that men are that they
might have joy
2 Can’t I just be A man for
today then?
3 Didn’t you say Eve came
from Adam’s rib so am I not
almost a man already.
4 A broken rib of one, a
broken bit of one.
5 I grew from one
6 Don’t I pass enough for
7 Didn’t you say that he who
is perfect cast the first stone.
8 I’ve spent my whole life
climbing boulders left by
9 And didn’t Paul change his
name from Saul after a vision
and someone calling him for
the first time him.
10 To serve.

Chapter 4
1 So, what do you say? Will
you tell me if my perfection in
heaven, my cleansing comes
with free top surgery and
everyone using my preferred
2 I mean God can’t be a birth
name, so why do I have to go
by mine?

Chapter 5
1 There’s supposed to be a
special ending after you pray
2 It’s called truth and faith and
3 I’ve always been afraid of
the leap, used to jump from
RV to roof, RV to roof, RV to
4 And every time I stutter.
5 and that step onto planes
still feels huge like it did
when my tiny feet could slip
through and my parents
carried me across.
6 I once read a story about a
boy who wrote you a letter
tied to a balloon.
7 My father used to make me
burn my lists to Santa Claus
because the flames carried it
into the wind.

Chapter 6
1 This poem will end with a
2 Cause my voice is growing.
3 Until I get a sign to stop, I’m
gonna keep going, okay?
4 I’ll change my name.
5 One day say I’m not
pronoun indifferent, that my
gender is not simply in the
eyes of the beholder.
6 Maybe then I’ll write you a
7 Tie it to a balloon and all.
8 Let me know if you get it
sometime god.

Signed Lewis Figun Westbrook

Lewis Figun Westbrook (he/they) will always prefer their bio be some kind of joke but apparently that isn’t very professional. They are a queer writer of too many genres and artist of too many things. Lewis grew up in New Jersey where the trees are thick enough to inspire fantasies of magic and a suspicion of secrets in the most mundane places. They now live in Utah with their partners and found family. There, the buildings are short enough to remind you that an adventure is always closer than you expect. He is currently published in Love Gone Wrong, a horror anthology, and The Paper Crow, an online literary journal. Find them on most social media @lewisrllw or look for them in local queer shops

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