The End

The final drip of blood
From the tap,
Scratch of 'nails
Against the chalkboard
In the seedy
Classroom of dead,
Dead flicker of wanton
Recognition in the retina
Of my dulled brain,
Monkey-trained drone
From my tied-up tongue,
Mind-slicing tick
From the wasted clock,
Clang from the bell
Suppressing every
Component of my being,
And I'm finally there
Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeyer necessitatem

He pushes me too high to jump;
plays tricks with my equilibrium.
A sleight of hands behind the back
conjures me into a rubbery flux.
Rusty chains stain my skin with imprints
the hue of metallic plums.  Dark, shiny bruises
that hint of past plummets; ominous impacts
I desired to leave.  A mysterious trail
-- damaged fruit and peculiar loot.

I wanted to be some kind of freaky meteorite
shooting shards of sharpened debris.  Like gleaming spikes
and bolts I unearthed beside the railroad tracks;
added to my beveled candy dish.  A shrine
to inedibility, inaccessibility, inscrutability.  Instead,

I just get smaller as my velocity increases.  I'm the incorrect
kind of anomaly.  Misfit.  Bad seed.  My wrists could be slit
with a child-sized scissor blade and I would quickly ebb
into the faintest pulse, the tiniest glimmer,
dead star, elapsed arc, insignificant
handful of ellipses...

A relapse of unease re:
inanimate objects can be sinister.  Sometimes,
I hear them hissing.  With cold metal logic,
he explained to me his reality
in which the tire swing didn't even know
my head was entwined with its coarse rope.

It just kept spinning reeling out reams
of my long, soft hair like it was a wig.
I was an oblivious princess, a dense doll,
an inanimate object in thrall of burning black rubber
and then I was bald.  They could see the seam
atop my skull.  Crack me open like a plastic egg

and extract the dark scarves.  Another flimsy trick
any playground magician could master.  Hacked
hair may grow back.  Star anise may distract from the reeking
wreaked havoc of melted rubber and rotten fruit
trajectories, but my split ends are hissing again;
hinting at severed connections.  Tattered tapestry, warped grip,
intertwined links he could hoodwink into a choke chain.
Juliet Cook
Ryan Wright
Kevin Doran