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4 a.m. and I am not dead yet. When I dare to close my eyes I see my

tangled limbs; I see myself hiding from a dark that’s never hurt me; I see

the rhythmic rise of every breath, but if I am still alive then why do I seem

10 a.m. and I was still talking to her. Her family walked in the background of her

tiny mansion, as incidental characters in my life, while my background was an opaque mystery to her; there was

no way to explain that I didn’t mind being alone; I asked her inconsequential questions

regarding people I never knew; the second time we were disconnected, I considered

that and I lied that I had to go and I did not call her


12 p.m. and the clock is not the same; it’s not red, not five minutes late, not hung


in a prominent position next to the garish mural of the world in an unseen God’s

all-too-human hands. When I

open my eyes they say I can try EMDR, to file away the bulk of my life into neat

compartments, so that the monsters stay in the closet and don’t re-emerge in broad

daylight to decide who counts as undone, waiting for the confession of the prodigal



10: 35 a.m. and she said she missed me. Then she invited me to church;



as much as I would love to blame her I know it was what we were taught, lately


I have learned that I am not a martyr, that I



do not relish the ritual crucifixion of my parents’ difficult decisions. I cannot



believe I spent years being damned with faint praise and praised with exemption



from damnation, through infectious tunes, ominous verses and promises, which



they begrudgingly made on behalf of the faceless god with the human




7 p.m. and I am sitting alone in an airless room, with a political cartoon




pasted to the bulletin board. The difference they say the comfort you



take in belief in creation is that




what is just is, forever unchanging, and I don’t even remember what




class this is because they all sounded exactly like this. Character is what




you are in the dark they say but I’m fine in the dark; it’s the light that is




a cause for concern; it glares, it sears, it





1 a.m. and I wake in cold sweat. I check to make sure she has





not replied. I am giving her the silent treatment but she isn’t




even aware,





because she never really listened. By my side there is nothing;





I like it that way; nothing can hurt me as much as it wants and





have me walk away unscathed, a seminal coward forced to be





2 p.m.. and I am thoroughly disenchanted. Solipsism is





a relief: to not be dead, just not exist, since my presence





or lack of it was never felt. I was the





faceless mannequin in a compromising position that they





saw in the department store window. They declared its





forgotten features a sin to be shamed without asking its

4 a.m. and no, I am not dead. I don’t remember if I was always

tossing and turning from the serotonin, in a constant state of dread; but when I close

my eyes I do not look nor feel alive but I know I am not



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