This day is like a paperweight,
decorative and barely even functional
since I don’t work in the wind,
but I begin by taking stock
of all the hazel moths
that lurk around the lantern
hanging loosely from a hook
outside the window.

She stands barefoot on the train tracks
like she doesn’t fear the cold at least a little.
She bites the end of her cigarette’s filter
with the flat part of her front teeth
just as she lights it, and says to me,
“I want you to convince me we are ready
for the next step, without the crutch
of simply shrugging both your shoulders.”

I have no answer for her and her dark hair
flying like fishing line out the open car window
but catching eyes instead.
There’s a homeless woman I pass
when I’m walking towards town
that believes she’s been trapped in
a memory for eight hundred years.
People bring her groceries
and bits of cash, but she’s never
opened up about where she came from.
It’s possible she doesn’t even know.

Every year I stumble across the same news article
about kids choking themselves with charging cables
woven in with barbed wire. I know these stories seem like bullshit
but they’re true because no one knew there was an underworld
before they got there, or they did, and just decided they were fine
with falling deeper into something that would never
let them go.

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