Split Staircase

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The dictator pushes me into the wall and takes the left staircase lowering down the wall. The woman with fringed hair takes the right, heels clicking down. You don’t know which to take, until you’re pushed for taking too long. No decision is made by someone wearing a periwinkle shirt. I’m wearing a ripped white shirt. “Excusez-moi monsieur,” I say and claw at the black man glaring at me.

Nobody has whispered to these walls for a day or so and I crawl to the balcony overlooking Nothing. Two turquoise roses flicker in the silent wind, and I sit on the dusty floor. It takes longer than 24 hours to make a decision. Just to visit the gift shop I need to take the split staircase. To get through school to have to take the split staircase. So I jump off the balcony and pluck the two roses. I braid them into my hair and push myself farther down into the mud.





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