The fishes peep at me
through the pink sewer grates,
the filth and dirt and greed of city
eating their eyes,
the loneliness scratching at their fins.
I look at them
as if they are a painting
hung on an illuminated wall –
the last standing wall.
The vapors of dissipated life, dissolved flesh
spread all around it – the waste of everyday life
the waste of silent war.
But it lasts only a moment
my gift of vision, my ability to detach
only lasts so long.
The hunger in my bones, once again,
makes me look away.
I get up and walk.
I move my feet to the beat of the song
being spun in my corrupted mind
I am tempted to increase the volume
to find a pitch that resonates with the air here.
The point where everything bleeds and nothing heals
what will happen to me there,
what will happen to all of us I wonder.
But I have walked these roads before
I now know more than anything
that I only yearn to live.
Slowly, I have learned to protect my ailing tissues.
I have learned to gaze lovingly at my broken mind.
So, I press pause.
I continue to persevere.
I put on my favorite show
(that I have seen for umpteenth time),
increase the volume,
fill my plate.
My eyes glued to TV
notices too late all that I have spilled,
fill my plate with things I won’t eat.
The same beautiful scene.
Under the yellow light
stand two actors,
pretending to be in love,
doing a better job at it
that we ever could,
we could never say.
My heart breaks to see this love,
it pops like a bubble wrap,
bursts like a bubble of daydreams.
No, it doesn’t hurt.
I just hear a sound
from the otherwise silent machinery
that keeps me running.
I am glad you meant enough to me
to have become
a familiar bump on the familiar road
that my heart always takes.
The moment I pass any door
a part of my brain whispers-
too many people,
watch you step and watch your tongue,
lest you want to be branded as one of those women
that you are are and aren’t at the same time.
For if you are not careful enough
you will soon believe everything that people say about you
as you are doing right now.
Right now only half of you exist in this body.
I know this because that is what I was calculating
in the class of areas and volumes,
as teacher taught how we determine
the volume the water left at in a cylinder of flesh
once it starts leaking from all the words that have pierced it.
Or that’s what I heard at least.
I got had good score for that class
and I got called many more names.
A little more of me seeped out
and now I am less than half of what I was.
I know this because I have lost my friends
(maybe they see I am no longer me).
I know this because my heart no longer protests
when I hear people calling me by wrong names.