yes, the “d” word

It’s a twenty-foot college-ruled ice cube between two strangers that could be friends in a cold square room.

It’s stolen candy in the folds of your neck, bubbling up your throat in Hades-smoke to beacon your parents’ glares each time you lick the bone down-staircase.

It’s an antipolarized magnet, hanging off the back of your neck pulling your head into a parallel line with the sidewalk while everything is gray when only your mattress and pillow can support the weight of the iron chain that wards sun-filaments away from you.

It’s nothing.

It’s a BB gun hovering behind your spinal cord, fist clenched as you trudge an empty trail.

It’s a lavender morning with no one out but the earbudders walking their dogs, empty smiles shining toward the voices only they can hear; each one inhabits a separate distant place where they wouldn’t hear you scream.

It’s a thought like a quilt you huddle in because the stars make your brain freeze and the mosquitos eat your homework and you’d rather sleep inside a sweaty, moth-leaky lie than crawl out to the truth.

It’s the starved monster in your stomach annexing your sacrum so no sleeping position is acceptable.

It’s a fruit of eternal life, but it’s covered in spines that you must peel back tenderly one by one: Most don’t have the patience. Park benches stink of jaded nectar.

It’s hysterical.

It’s a sunshine cake delivered to your door by a confetti-slinging posse of doctors, but the slices taste too lemony, they sparkle up your throat – you want everyone to know this is your second dessert; you’ve already gorged on the sugarcane staircase down that’s made of bone; no one will listen.

It’s the volta of this poem, which should be about gratefulness but if the others didn’t say it why should I?

It’s shame, red tears running down an airless night with your pebble of a body curled up on the carpet waiting for a cold, square room to grow hands and throw you back into the river.

It’s a morning cloak fluttering across my eyes, no language needed.

It’s vanquished.

It’s me.


Image credit:

By James St. John [CC BY 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons


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