Did discovery come by slow degrees one small thing upon another

Or was it thrust into your unbelieving face?

Did realization napalm your soul? Tear the skin from your dreams

blow up your heart?

Did you scream lost inside the pain?

or were your eyes wide with fear

fixed open staring stunned into the white heat of recognition?

Were you abandoned, dropped from a great height?

Did you plunge into a fetid marsh, left to drift

drowning in darkness, mouth filled with rotting dreams?

Did that little catfish mouth that encircled you so sweetly hide shark’s teeth?

Did you bore her, darling? Did her attention flicker, then turn away

while you were still wallowing in fantasy?

Did she toss that Cleopatra wig, rake you with those plastic nails and prance away unconcerned leaving you fat and foolish, tears of hot shame stinging your fond heart?

Does loss now dog your steps? Does emptiness now labor your lungs?

Does pain now halt your breath in strange, foreign rhythms?

Must you remind yourself to breathe?

Do you look in the mirror? Do you see yourself and know your youth has fled?

Are the words “middle-aged fool” branded across your brow?

Do you see your desperate eyes peering wounded through the pain,

Sorrow leaking like blood from a seeping wound? Is your heart constricted with grief?

Did she hurt you, baby?

By Reba Mayo

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