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(4:56 p.m.)

I make a windmill of my shoulder, harnessing all my energy

to lessen the pain later on. Question if I properly maintained

six-feet of distance while waiting in line because it’s been a year

 

since I’ve been around so many strangers and somehow I crave

to know their stories. If I laid my body down, would my frame

fill the space? Look up at the dizzying-bright gymnasium lights

 

as the digital clock ticks on and convince myself I will not

have a panic attack while threatening to grind even my jaw

to powder. Wrap straightjacket fingers around my wrist to keep

 

it from trembling. Check my pulse. Let my mind wander. Sit on the edge

of Lake Atitlán as the lullaby laps carve their path to the shore. Remember

what it means  to break open or apart and be able to tell the difference

 

between the two. Befriend a crow and accept every shiny gift

it offers. Run my hands over a map and research the etymology

of the universe.

 

(5:03 p.m.)

Wonder how Eurydice must have felt when the world turned back

on her because the myths only ever tells us how Orpheus suffered.

 

Make believe a masquerade is more than just a way to disguise

who we really are. Strip away the decaying bones that trap

 

our organs from playing their sweetest songs. Picture an alternate

reality where bridges don’t beckon the fall, but give rise

 

to connections this galaxy has only ever dreamed up.

 

(5:15 p.m.)

Think about the apocalypse

 

and your lips. Ponder what it would mean

 

for the world not to end. Get up and get

 

ready to begin

 

living.

Erica Abbott (she/her) is a Philadelphia-based poet and05 writer whose work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Selcouth Station, Anti-Heroin Chic, perhappened, Bandit Fiction, Brave Voices Magazine, and other journals. She is the author of Self-Portrait as a Sinking Ship (Toho, 2020), her debut poetry chapbook. She volunteers for Button Poetry and Mad Poets Society. Follow her on Instagram @poetry_erica and on Twitter @erica_abbott.

 

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