Saturday 4/08/2006 12:05:00 AM

Shave the first layer of skin from the moment. This rusty badge is all I have left to wear. Pin too close to the skin.

He just mouthed the words. Didn't say them. But I still heard.

The pattern is there. I've always worn its plaid. In criss-crosses too even. Bleeding thoughtless into each other. Hardly aware. Of how near they are.

I just gripped the bat tight and swung. No ball in the air.

It's always that way.

No real target.

I didn't say anything. Shivering under a mountain of blankets. I knew I shouldn't still be cold. But I was. So what could I say to him.

Admit I was born missing pieces.

I couldn't do that. I just wanted to keep watching him as he tried to find them.

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