the new familiar

The specter has left. That’s what we’ve been told.
But its tears are like hope spilled from shattered fish bowls.
Gray eyeliner, darker still. The cleanser is rolling, out of reach.

I feel so silly, counting the cartwheels performed without grace.
My breath, like school glue splattered on a faded binder.
Impeach what’s no longer discrete. It’s out there, like cheese on rye.

As a girl, they called me the littlest Matryoshka doll.
So small and quiet. Easily forgotten at the end of the road.
They always sat me down, told me in private that all my thoughts were off.

Today, I get some phone calls. From people. Those people.
The house won’t sell for less than what I say, but they laugh.
Again, I clear my throat, looking to see if I’ve scared them.

Children are territorial. Sometimes, when the lights die down.
When the lights are tired, or so they proclaim.
Exhaustion is a trench coat for the big wigs dyed at the fringes.

Arms crossed, back as flat as it can possibly get. We’re sore.
An imbalance that burdens our asphalt shoulders.
The everyday whistle, tea kettle cringing in time with shut doors.

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