Gills

A torturous ritual
perpetuated only
by those it eases

Begins with
A broken child
staring at
forever-blank pages

She is a dolphin
being forced
to grow gills

The answers jumble, blur
as saltwater frustration
flows freely

If only to be
a fish
Like the others
what they wanted

Rubbery, useless skin
has never served her
nor lungs requiring
pure oxygen

Quietly, she raises her head
the other children are working
no one is watching
Slowly, she raises her pencil

And carves herself
gills





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