EVEN IF, NOT WHEN,

this whole ordeal blows over, and the people are suddenly cured
of the fear that plagues them, rejoicing to the heavens Amazing
grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me,
I doubt
I’d be able to find the girl I lost in the golden days. Right now—

something inside of me hangs onto life by a fraying thread. I rot
within these walls, marking each hour by the tears I can still shed
to pass them, to make the minutes run with the wind I can’t feel.

Morning, afternoon, night. Lather, rinse, repeat. There is no such
thing as grace in a body like mine, a vessel craving the soft touch of
real, breathing life, past the borders of pink-painted bedroom walls
and no appetite and lost sleep. I thirst for the life I lived before—

how I would sink my teeth into its sour rind and suck the juices out
and run, how I RAN! kicking up soil as I flailed myself in a thousand
directions at once, all of that mortal magic I felt back when I was still
invincible enough to seize the world with both hands, ALLEGRO!

I felt the wind in my hair and against my chest and on my bare
knees blood-stained and kissed by grass and I believed, truly

believed grace to be interchangeable with body

which was synonymous with freedom and timelessness
and the electricity of being young and still unstolen from

I ONCE WAS LOST, BUT NOW AM FOUND

were the words I would scream all the way back home, burning.

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