Ecstasy is the zookeeper gone rogue, the zoo from fortuity. It’s when the cork in your chest pops open at last and all your dumb cares are thrust deep into the soil and the sod. It’s when you know that you are what you are and stop trying to change it for fear of a sideways glance — same as the one the man in the plaid and the showy belt buckle gave the obese girl at the derelict roller rink; same as the look you gave your father before he died, or kind of how the locals treat the old saloon barman in that one Western flick I keep forgetting. I used to think that ecstasy was a city in heaven that you went to after popping pills. Usually those pills were not capsules but gnarled little pellets of puke-brown color and pliable edges — I thought they might pollute my arteries but I ate them anyway, because they were so ugly I figured they must be beautiful on the inside. Most things are like that, if you stop and look long enough using two or more eyes.

Crush my pills. You’ll have a riot!

I went back to that rank dilapidated rink today, to disrupt my hackneyed schemes. I lit polyurethane on fire and loved the smell. I tossed stones at used bowling pins and played chess with a penniless former adjunct professor of science over Ironlak floors. He’d blown his earnings on junk and artificial intelligence because, as he told me, he loved to keep one foot in the past and one in the future. He said something else that stuck with me — “He or she who without hesitation tells you to fix your posture and shave your hair and pinch your wallet, that there is your personal demon disguised as a thing divine.”

I feel to be levitating from my toes, gentler thoughts whiz by now. I slide easier toward the place without math, a free wind in my step.

It’s glorious. I am what I would be.

Someone stowed heaven away in fields of tall crops where people come to see the golden sunset but no one dares meet the night; on a barge adrift unnamed seas. Somewhere in my dreams and your dreams. Usually it’s the rapid ones that are easiest to remember, the ones that intoxicate through cold sweats—those abrupt gaps between waking and sleep restored. Those are the dreams we share. It’s not the devil who lives in the details as you might have been told, but something more elemental. I’m not afraid to look for it anymore; I do it as soon as the gold patina fades.

It’s ecstasy.