This roller coaster is stuck at the top of the hill, refusing to go further, incapable of going back. I’m the only rider. The sun shines on me, and the sky rains on me, both at once. It’s hot and it’s cold, and this potential is ready to become kinetic. A thought flashes

…she sits on the stairs with her daughter while we eat Easter dinner, unwilling to join us at the table, watching me, watching us, plotting while I’m mysteriously oblivious. It’s been two months…

Two or three clicks of the chain and I’m reminded of the chains that bind me. The chains I bound myself with. The chains I allowed myself to be bound with, while saying nothing. It’s icicles piercing my body and then melting without a trace.

…we sit across the living room from each other. I have one hand on the bag I just packed, ready to leave, ready to walk out the door. She chooses that particular conversation to tell me about the guy she kissed in a bar, one of many bars, one of many weekends, one of many months, while I worked to support us. Why did I stay? I can’t remember…

The engine has been me, the whole time. This ride has been closed for years. I’ve been stranded on the coaster, ready for the promised excitement, tasting the fear, blowing out the candles and wishing for salvation.

…one poem, but more isn’t worth the effort. One touch, but aversion to contact. Every sun-filled starlight day has an asterisk. Every moonlit bonfire night has a parenthetical note. Exceptions are the rule, and I’m the exception that follows them….

I want to release the restraints and step to the edge, look down, and jump into the beyond. What comes after that? They say it’s not the fall that kills you, but the landing. Easy for them to say – they aren’t the ones with invisible wounds bleeding out.

 

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