Congratulations My Friend
by t. zoEy benally

Congratulations my friend on your graduation today
It was thrilling to watch
You lean into the red tape stretched
Across the bureaucracy threshold
As I watched I felt smooth heart muscles pinch
Pain crawled up my throat
It used hyaline cartilage ridges as foot and hand holds
Shoving dirty fingernails into pink epithelia
Liquid from my heart was diverted
To tear ducts, and heavy weights
Were applied to my smile corners
And I swear that this is how it feels
When your heart is broken
Another friend later confirmed this--
He once felt the same way about a stripper
Congratulations my friend, even though
I really wanted to run and bury my face
In my hands and let the plasma run
I knew I must stand witness
So I scrawled notes in my notebook
Letters leaned left and right
As if repulsed to find themselves
In the same sentence
Normally they push anxiously forward
Strain to get everything out
So we can all get to work
And save our little corner of the world
I planted my feet, squared my shoulders
I knew I must keep myself there
To watch and listen, so that I could remember
Because history always repeats itself
Congratulations my friend
My ears ache now from bleated
Squeak stanzas squeezed from unbalanced
Merry-go-rounds and Ferris wheels
I cringe at the screamed ultrasonic terror
Of salted slugs, and their shivered suffering
Turgor pressure drop, flaccid cell flop
And I remember two conversations--
How if they had not occurred
I might be able cheer
Along with everyone else
Congratulations my friend
I feel like Steven Jobs
To your Bill Gates
I feel robbed of opportunity
All because of one letter

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