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The End of the Beginning

November 16, 2019

Written by Lexy Pickering

she woke up this morning two inches shorter in her spine

the change marked in mirrors dripping with resentment

but she blinks and tucks her fear behind the clock to rot

with last night’s leftovers and her heart

on the bus she moves in unison with waxen faces to invisible forces

on garbage streets she looks for freckled familiarity

defeat digging holes in her lungs, she coughs, swallows her voice

dizzy, she feels the shrinking this time before it begins

the crack in her back as she loses height again

recoils at the smell of decomposed bone

the grinding of vertebra against each other as they crumble

tears in her pocket, she calls her mother

to only static and regret, the caustic sound of distance

ever waning, she floats between tiled floors

vision spinning under fluorescent light

the doctor, drowning in ivory cashmere and sarcastic lemon scent:

“Have you been smoking cigarettes?”

as she is going, a child wearing her face offers her a lollipop

turned inside out, she wordlessly gasps into the pink air

the edges of her memory are burnt with the dancing embers of delusion

in this raw rush of nostalgia her own features are unrecognizable

half her size, she crawls on guilt and woodchips to the edge of the river

in this absolute space, deaf to the world less the trickling black waters

she can see in her reflection the emptiness behind glass eyes

she has forgotten her name so she whispers another’s

in the sepia night, the lover spins salt into gold with the last of her breath

the live bodies beneath her weave themselves into a cage

her final vertebrae disintegrates into honeyed ash

she melts into the floor, a mess of limbs, gaped lips,

silence the sole responder to her anguished cry

next to her, the cat sips a glass of wine

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