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There are things he can’t put to paper

because people read him in the dark

when he shuns infiltration

as an aspirin in a glass of water

shuns mingling but eventually releases

its bubbles one by one skywards

hoping to escape that way


Ghosts, doves, prayers,

pieces of himself

inert for decades

suddenly release trapped air


A child walks backwards

down a closed street

darkness and voices slither

from clenched branches


Jeers in their mouths

as they push him underwater

in the deep end

panic in throat

death roaring in ears


Hiding in a closet

overhearing secrets

gagged with shock

waiting to die

wondering where death is

and how could the world exist

without his eyes


And the blush of acne in the mirror

and not knowing how to dance

being too short

and the sticks and stones of names called

as if they know who he is

and he doesn’t


And when he can’t find himself

because he’s dissolved in them

wondering how a bottle of pills

would dissolve in a glass of water

and not having the courage

to close his eyes

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© Johnmichael Simon



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