Blame

Sitting in a circle with her
failures passing poorly rolled
joints that are badly burning.
They make the air darker than
the night does with smoke that
mixes well with the still cold air.
She continued to feel the fingers in
her hair, and how they pulled against
her scalp every time she moved.

Empty buckets on the edge of sidewalks
collect rain until they are kicked into the
street by people who don’t watch where
they put their feet. There’s a weight holding
down an invisible curtain against everyone’s
shoulders, and the only way to escape it
is to go through it like a fingernail digging
into plastic, making it thinner and thinner
until set free.

Piles of letters and photos form under old
trees, mostly at the corners of city parks,
as reminders to us all of what happens
if we try to leave early. Every human
born is a chance to do something new,
and she stands among them staring
into the candle flames sheltered from
the rain, under the branches, and
doesn’t blame herself for anything.

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