Bruise of a whisper vagues out of you. Notices itself. Lights dim inside your body compact enough to deflate lungs like a laboratory rat. Episodes rage, whimper, stagger against the thin walls. You are a planet so far away it doesn’t even know how old it is. Slip into a day and watch it move and dominate itself without you. Nothing more hollow than following Mom’s tiptoes, two invisible griefs.

Sleep is ancestral. REM wears a metal cape. Fights motherfuckers. Steel-toed boots hit kneecaps. A superhero lives in bed. Stand in the living room and let the smack not smack the smack out of you. Animate bodies in a house wield a monster to action. Your spine is a high-rise. Point to the monster’s temple with an index finger. Obliterate him.

A girl on the street bends her face toward the sidewalk. Sneers flick at her like cigarette butts. A brown cardboard sign ripped at the bottom hangs its head and pleads for work or cash. Cut-out lips curse behind windshields, shake their heads at her hole-less shoes, canvas pants, the blasphemy of a coat. Fake suffering has been sitting on her like a suicide masking her desire to be placed behind high walls and a garden of nobody in her own house with a lock. No house. No lock. Distant sirens. “Get a job, loser,” “Crackhead,” “Goddamn junkie,” “What, you want me to buy your beer?” Wheels slap off to clapboard wood, adobe, fireplaces, food. Hand that doesn’t hold the sign flips the bird.

A guy stands on a median near a traffic light. Waves. Wears hats he makes out of newspaper he doesn’t sell. Kids wave back. Drivers busy their hands in glove compartments locating nothing. Don’t look up. A stranger needs something. Sinister, sticky, ready to muster guilt out of anyone’s myriad. A magician drags the grit of a city between his teeth. It’s less than a minute before the light turns green. No need to feign stagnant misery of some inner parody. Grope for something viable that will dissipate the dominance of the past ‘you never get what you need,’ that has you in the car coming and going to places that serve to move the clock with regularity.

Trade places. You can’t stand there for more than a minute. You feel them again, don’t you? Eyes watch and judge, because they can. The enjoyment of witnessing someone else in an awkward, defeated stance. Reality TV is the locus of reverie. Make a bowl of popcorn and lie back. Watch people unravel and pretend that a junkie isn’t living a life more passionate than yours. Suck it in.

Meg Tuite

Meg Tuite

Meg Tuite is author of two story collections, Bound by Blue and Domestic Apparition, and four chapbooks. She won the Twin Antlers Poetry award for her poetry collection, Bare Bulbs Swinging. She teaches at Santa Fe Community College, ia senior editor at Connotation Press and has a column at JMWW.
Meg Tuite

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