By: Lee Harris
Photo Credit: Creative Commons

the knot in your esophagus grows


with each set of open-faced fists

scratching at the bare places of your neck.

like fitting square pegs

into a circle cut out

and nodding off the excess amount of force

as growing pains.

but it’s more than just pain.

it’s living at the bottom

of your own lungs,

because you simply can.

you simply could.

escaping the pitter-patters

of each individual tap

on your forehead

by subconsciously stopping your own heartbeat.

if only for a moment.

it’s like trying to shock life

back into a corpse

just to watch it choke on its tongue.

who knows if they were thanking you

or cursing you.

but life and fatal wounds

cancel each other out.

much like those late

luke-warm apologies

given after meetings with foggy men

wearing black cloaks

carrying out the dead weight you keep

hidden underneath your breastplate.

and that


and inevitable

sting of feeling your face turn blue,

as you hand off necessities,

those smaller than the breath of a child,

based on the decision

that anyone who can see in front of them

will understand.

then you feel

the snap of bones

before the shadows in an over-active


become real people.

before they have names.

each introduction to empty silhouettes

is white noise picked up from the


receiver at the top of your head.

like wiping your sweaty palms

on your pants

before a firm handshake,

because they will not


these are the “just-in-case”

and the “if’s”

that have become facts.

a foot-trail traveled by a slim few,

but very, very often.


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