April 6, 2008
By Naomi Wiseman, Fort Myers, FL

A slow flame is ignited in your body.

It starts in your mouth, burning the flesh of your tongue with all the words that flash behind your eyes, unsaid. You choke them down like some vile medicine. You feel the shame of it tearing at your throat, swelling inside your chest, filling up your lungs. It hits the bottom of your gut like a dead weight and sits there with the acid, broiling, burning, slowly slowly.

All the words you can't speak aloud sit aflame and heavy in your stomach, clogging you up, rotting your innards away.

It continues this way every time you think about it. You feel your skin hot, red in the face, and you won't be surprised if one day you dissipate into ash. It always happens this way. You're feeding yourself poison—all the words you cannot say.

It is a sweet death you think. Befitting of you. Those words enter your bloodstream one by one, pumping the bile around your system, building the congestion in your veins. You carry it with you sluggishly, your heart beating slower by the second, strained by the clots in your body. Your heart beats you into a stupor—sweet, slow, certain. You're falling inexplicably into a deep sleep. Those words have invaded you—mind, body, and soul.

You're spinning up like smoke.

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