March 13, 2008
By Kirsten Bledsoe, Arlington, VA

The people passive, nonactive, nonparticipative, uninvolved.
With bouts of laughter oblivious to Them
Scare me the most
For what if they unconsciously join Their ranks?

No one else seemed to care about Them,
Nor mind Them so close,
Nor notice Them, see Them even.
Was it a form of defense, fortification, resistance, deterrent?
A weakness of mine perhaps?

The sight of Them here, in this place, in this spot, present,
Right where we lived,
Chilled the roots of the hair on my arms,
Froze the marrow in my bones,
Crippled my joints, and so paralyzed me.

They filled every shadow,
Lurking in every empty space of darkness,
Stretching out in every frightened nook of my brain
Filling me with immense immovable, moored, anchored, rooted, braced
Cold adrenaline packed tight, unusable.

I counted down the time left, mere seconds, a few sixtieths of a minute of time,
Before They seeped under the door,
Grabbed my ankles,
Pulled me under, cackled, and
Forced me to see Them again.

Those who could not see them
Still cannot, but have tried
To replace the frost and rime filled spaces They
Inhabit inside me, with warmth, geniality, ardor, fervor, energy, and even
Fire which burns Them, but me too.

As time passes on They are all I have, dressed in, clothed in, robed in.
They are immortal, inextinguishable, immutable, perpetual, permanent,
No matter how I’ve tried to rid Them.

They have not left me
Even as countless others have tried to rid them too
But they them-selves left, abandoned, deserted, forgot instead.
They are my company, my friends, even.

I have come to welcome, salute, receive, meet, usher in, the
Cold, the ice, the numb feeling of
An old wound,
They bring now.

The treatment works rarely, but
I miss Them when They are gone, off, out, missing, unavailable, unattainable.

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