It un-slumbered today, poised itself for descent. Poised itself to plunge and plunder, popping like finger to inner cheek circa nineteen eighty-four. Popping like forgotten doors pried suddenly open.

But first, discomfort. Of heart and back and leg. And blood even, sometimes.

All other complaints must wait.

It will rain itself dry, this, and a brumous, sifting-down light will fall in its wake and catch in a puddle obligated to eventually overfill.

We hog the darkness because we can—it is too disconcerting for those with compulsions to be seen.

Lack of illumination discourages lasso, net, or cage—but there’s always a ring, isn’t there?

And any parameter controlling the exits necessarily defines the battlefield.

So forget the salvation of daybreak. It’s not that kind of morning.

Feels like a long time now. Since I tried on this shirt. Even longer since I wore it. My hair or its it itches all the same. Barbed-wire, like. Sharp, like. A discourager of battlefields and rings, like.

So out to the slacken middle I go, outcomes held before me as I chart my return from a balance I could not out-run.

Too far out I went. Too far from either port for habit to restore me.

(Will the descent be soft and murmuring, everywhere evenly fallen?

Or will it drop like hail,

Noisy and jagged and bladed, drawing blood both for and against my will?)

No, that’s far too consistent for this go-round.

It will be messy, this one. El chihuahua. Mad with terror and excitement and the shivers. Mad with the wild swing between exiled and adored.

But only on the inside.

The outside remains marbled and steady. A Gobstopper to crack your teeth all the way to the chewy middle.

If you make the chewy middle.

It’s a lot of work, you know.

But there will be no hard resets today—what does the body know of hard resets anyhow?

It’s a question best endured from a kneeling position, from way down low where the comfort of hardwood and water any day beats the treachery of linen and wine.

Stragglers bang their hapless greetings time to time before circumnavigating left or right. But sometimes they bleed.

So back to the slacken middle I steer, back to where the bottom of the valley whispers “There’s only two ways out and everything else is excuses.”


So I pulled my wherewithal from that pocket and hid it in the words instead.

And tomorrow morning, or the morning after that or the morning after or the morning after that all will be silent again, bed-sheets restored to tautness across the framework.



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