It hangs there, the knot fashioned neatly, calling me
like my mother did when I was out past sunset
running with the fellas…even a few girls.
We played in the street, living free then. But those days are gone.
Each shift, negative contact, complaint, or
snide comment from those I serve
draws each loop tighter, choking away what little air that remains.
I cannot be sure anyone would bother to cut me down.
A lone truth that stings.
What is it that brings me back each day?
Much to live for, sure, but for the others, not me.
Is that really true?
Blasts from my past, from lives I watched expire,
swing the rope back and forth, gently at first.
An evil grin
on my weathered face
hoping the wooden beam
the rope is affixed to
cannot support my weight.
–C.L.Swinney (c) 2017
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