then and now
by t. zoEy benally

there was a time, clock hands pointed
at 2 hours and 23 minutes past midnight
black dew suspended, damp hands
caressed my cheeks & forehead
minutes when I would have followed you
through the stickiest mud puddles
with my best shoes on, crashed through
tumbleweed thickets in silk and polyester
I wonder if you even realized
the power that you wielded
sternum cracked open, rubbery heart
muscles pumping furiously
did you know, that they were all yours
every jumpy muscle thread
never have I been so close to total
destruction, voluntary annihilation
if you had just leaned forward
mist from your warm breath
would have been enough to send me flying
silver weather balloons
released to me, my weak forearms flooded
with lactic acid, mouth dry, sugar thirst

now mostly I am perplexed, not sure
whether I should wipe my brow in relief
having dodged a bullet, you unaware
that you had even pulled the trigger,
and sent down polished chambers
or whether I should feel the wet
cardboard weight, rejection stench
perhaps I am just a lucky mouse, fortunate
to live out my brown haired days
survivor who can relive the day she felt
the tabby’s claws retract, and a paw
batted a sparkly toy, pinball bounce
off bumpers, flippers flail, but missed
down the drain, into the hidden tunnel safety
I have descended, patchwork earth becomes clear
I see homes, cars, trees, I see the whites
of everyone’s eyes again; I see finger nail moons
and you have become a mere form letter
reply to all, blind courtesy copy
black Times New Roman 12 point font,
full justified, not italicized, not bold

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