Inside the Stove

Inside the stove, he found 
a passageway, leading to a set of stairs.
This caused him a great deal of worry
as well as elation and gladness of living.
He did not, however, venture
into the oven, but sent his little brother in
in his stead. This seemed at first 
a good idea, but when the brother
had been gone three days, he began 
to second-guess the wisdom
of his rash choice. He'd go in after him,
he decided. But the passage
had shrunk by then, and no normal-sized
person could fit through. Yes, that's it,
I sent him in because, from a purely physical
standpoint, I myself could never have gone.
And besides, he mumbled to himself,
it's probably nice in there.

From March Book by Jesse Ball. Copyright © 2004 by Jesse Ball. Reprinted by permission of Grove Press. All rights reserved.