Monday 10/30/2006 12:20:00 AM

We shoved the bed toward the mirror. It looked closer the far that it got. We counted the pictures on the walls. One. Two. None. If they have to be taken. Not gifts. We waited through the commercials. For the bits of show they'd give us. Choking on a metaphor we couldn't articulate. The circle we'd drawn. In permanent marker.

The chill from the open door murmuring in plastic gulps. Playground swings recently abandoned. The laughter still looking for somewhere else to go. People still young enough to use that squeak as their catapult.

He wasn't finished, but I was. Even behind closed doors the residue has begun to breed. In benign huffs it coughed out songs I hadn't heard for days. I was going deaf in stages. The more he spoke to me.

I'd been watering a cactus. Hoping someday it would let me touch it.

I was prepared for everything.

Ready for nothing.

The hour still sober enough that I saw. How the lock had been picking me.

There was no key in him.

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