Vol. 3, No. 2: Today’s Baseball Fans photo

Velvet WaterJoAnna Novak

He knew that the emergency room doctor would explain the manifestation of anxiety mimics cardiac arrest, not as frightening as heart attack, with its sour-sweet stench of death, and he also knew the doctor hadn’t followed him to the gallery, not in body, at least, where it was just him noticing he wasn’t breathing as on the television monitor Chris Burden at the Art Institute of Chicago plunges his face into a basin and doesn’t breathe air, breathes water, and keeps coming up choking, gasping, sputtering, which at those moments he—the he that had been in the emergency room with anxiety so intense his body went into shock, seized and cold, shaking—at those moments he breathed, heaving, gulping breaths as Burden finally breathes air; and even now, staring at the record player and the concrete ceiling and the taco hut on Broadway and the Saint Laurent ad like an omen, even as the pit of his chest constricts and he wills himself into a hot bath, where the woman waits, calm, eyes shut, funny, she hadn’t once thought about breathing water, hadn’t once thought about Burden, had only been glad that they were back in their hotel room, not in the emergency room, even now he is glad to be dying in California.