Lose your job, your mind, your husband
step over the lines, off the map,
into unmarked alleys

Talk too fast, too much, too loud,
or not at all

Balk at the strangeness
of ordinary things
spot the dark intent behind
their bland disguises

Walk too close to the edge
of every conversation
answer the words behind the words they say

Forget to smile, to wash, to comb your hair
wear your clothes carelessly

Count the rough stitches
where the patchwork world
threatens separation

Carry your ghosts with you
shuffling and mumbling
in a long procession
that follows you down the street

Where no one sees you now
you’ve lost your place
your face your reflection

And even your shadow
fades to nothing
in the unrelenting sun

Selected byMaria Mazzenga
Image credit:Thomas Hawk

I studied art and literature at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh, but spent most of my working life as a Registered Nurse. I have had work published in many online and print journals, including Third Wednesday, Gnarled Oak, Earth's Daughters, and  The Ekphrastic Review. I have an e chapbook "Things I Was Told Not to Think About" available as a free download from Praxis magazine. Recently moved to Florida,  I'm slowly adjusting to my new surroundings, happily enjoying the gorgeous sunsets and abundant bird life.