Jo Angela Edwins


Cocooned in this plastic womb,
you are a shivering chrysalis
struggling to stay still as the dead
silicone surrounding you, and somewhere
outside this insulated world there thrums
elevator music, the cartoon dreams
it sings drowned out at last
by that hammering drone reminding you
we are all being pounded to dust
in the end. Sometimes a tinny
voice asks how you do. You lie,
say “fine,” then the pounding
persists, all in valiant effort
to figure what went wrong. Lying here,
stripped of ring and bracelet and brassiere,
you count the filigrees on the one strip
of wallpaper you see, then count the lights
that float behind shut eyelids, then count
the chances you’ve missed year by year.
Out there people are doing things
you’ve done before without thinking—
pumping gas, counting change, telling someone
whose face they can’t see to have a nice day.
In here you think of someone you love.
In here you wonder what that person felt
the last time he heard you speak his name.

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