Arches

Think very carefully. Shut your eyes until they swallow themselves and disappear into your skull. Then, open them and look up. What comes to mind?

***

I see her head brushing the ceilings of clouds, neck extended and uplifted endlessly, chin stuck out like I-dare-you, and stone arches crumbling in some places but somehow still defeating any force that attempts to bring them crashing back to earth.

***

The weeds growing next to the fence repulse me. Maybe it’s the forlorn goats gnawing fruitlessly at the roots trying to extract them from the dry ground. Or maybe, it’s because their posture looked too much like my own.

***

Long-suffering.

Put upon.

Go ahead and add one more, she can take it.

Even doormats get lifted and shaken out every so often.

Does your neck hurt from that constant downturned angle? Arch in my back, but not smooth and upward-pointing like hers, but bumpy and inward facing, tense like the fist I have wound up in my pocket.

***

Try very hard. Picture the peaks of her eyebrows, her cupid’s bow, the tips of her ears. Try very hard. That could be you if only…

***

If only.

You weren’t so.

If only you weren’t so

Unsure. Negative. Self-pitying.

***

WILL YOU SIT UP STRAIGHT FOR ONCE?

***

Surely, she must have passed on some of that regal bearing to you. Open your eyes wide, and watch how she shrugs her shoulders up and out. Think about why yours sag. How does that make you feel?

***

I have been folding myself onto myself for so long that my ribs have began to crack and shatter from the pressure, my collarbones have caved in and trapped any hope I had of repairs inside my chest cavity. The weight of expected elegance and disappointment and frustrated sighs is pressing down on top of my head. The top of my spirit is flat.

***

Flat.

Flat like.

Flat like my trajectory.

Not arched like your back. Or mine.

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