Issue #11

Night Guard

Twisting your swan neck into a hook
bent from your spine
forced down eye line.
Feeling branches brush the nape of your neck.
Appreciating the affection.
You cannot snap your head back
to see who caresses you.
You were made with the purpose
to help others observe
and not to be the observer.
With one unblinking eye
watching the same
static ground.

At your feet
a graveyard of leaves
their veins once pumped full of life from rain
wither into empty stencils.
Scuffling feet scatter
making the skeletons dance
they disturb the bones and laugh.
You want to look away.
You stare.
Stare as a shy child stares at shoelaces in strange company.
You almost wish you could whisper,
cry out
you have no mouth
just one unblinking eye.
You stand to attention.

A palm strangles you,
sweat dribbles like condensation.
To them you smell like rust and blood.
Shuffling feet
swaddling arms
swaying bodies, embracing.
You wonder what it is to be embraced.
You remain chaste.
In night you shine
have you ever saved a life?
You don't know.

You wish to snap back your head
shatter that carefully constructed curved neck.
Veins running through you
have always been dead.
Live wires are not alive.
You stare with your solitary eye.

Katie Smart