So Quickly Do We Fade


Her fingers are feathers,

Lithe and delicate

As they hover over the brushstrokes of Monet,

Drawn to pigment like a moth to the flame.


His eyes are the ravenous mouths of predators

Who have not eaten for days.

They swallow words, phrases, entire books whole

And yet the belly within is empty forevermore.


She holds a brush just as carefully as she probes its past.

She is the Da Vinci

The world doesn’t know,

But one day will.

The canvas is herself,

The brush is her gold,

And the acrylic is the diamond

That adorns her neck.


She scratches leafed paper

With the tip of graphite

When the whiteboard is full of equations

That she knows she should be replicating,

But across the room whispers roll like waves

And crash upon her ears,

The words as cold and harsh as the waters of the Atlantic.

So she focuses on the manner

That light meets and departs

The beautiful matter of this world


He is always in the same place.

The library beats

Like a ceaseless heart,

Propelling lifeblood into his helpless husk

That would wane and flicker without its generous gift.

Here he is home

In the place where impossibility does not exist

And reality is unrealistic.


When the doors to his heart are sealed

He finds his way to a place

Where his father’s eyes bid forever farewell

And his mother couldn’t

Even say “hello”
If she so desired to.

His eyes avoid the blooming

Of blue, purple, red,

And he folds into himself

In the overlooked darkness within decaying walls.


When she arrives home she paints once again

Except her body is the canvas

And her only paint is red.

This new brush is silver

And dances with the light.

Grace is foreign to the brush that traces jagged lines.

An instrument of self-destruction

The inflictor of a drugless rush.


Words ground to dust,

White ashes that devour

His very being

And arise,

Claiming him for its own

With the terrible power one desperate man

Granted it in an abandoned shack.

And though it eats him


He would rather remain trapped

In this deceptive high

Than feel the sharp pain of skin on skin,

Or see the blood from his mother’s mouth

One more time.


The pain is not enough,

The clouds within her mind

Cannot obscure

The thoughts that writhe within her mind.

She is alone,

Fear has chased loved ones away

And injured the bodies of others.

Yet the assaults continue,

A ceaseless foray of bullets and missiles and nukes.

She does not know how she possibly still stands

In the midst of this

Barren battlefield,

But she does know that she

Is able to grit her teeth

And swallow back

The agony

Any longer.


Beneath the mattress of her parents’ bedroom

Her hands find the cold metal

Of retribution,

Of relief.

She barely manages to scribble

“I love you”

Amidst the storm that wracks her body

As she cries,



Lifting her hand

And pressing metal to her temple

Seemed like it would have been

And easy task,

But a war rages from within

That turns those few pounds

Into a few tons

And it is a struggle just to raise

The pistol.

But she does,

And as she pulls her index finger

At the very last moment



And a will to live

Rush through her,

Obliterated instantly by the blinding light of



His door bursts open

And light explodes through the threshold,

Blinding to his eyes

Made sensitive

By the chemicals

He injected into his own veins.

It is his father,

His eyes bloodshot

And the unmistakable reek of alcohol

Surrounding him like an alarm.



Run it says,

Run far away from here.

But he is trapped,

Curled in the corner between

His bed and his nightstand,

A plastic bag full of

White powder

Settled on his lap.

His father’s eyes settle

On the lab-born chemicals

He bears,

And suddenly

He learns that the smell of rage

Is more pungent

Than two six packs of beer.

He knows this is it.


He won’t have to suffer the pain of

Bruises and broken bones

This time

For he’s done it.

He’s escaped this hell

Time and time again

And now he’s been caught,

A runaway,

A rebel,

Defying his father’s law.

And all he thinks about

As those thick legs lumber towards him

Is the face of his only friend

Who offered to him his hand

Again and again

And yet he always batted it away,

For the hands of his


Extended beyond the reaches of


With a fist flying towards his temple,

He thought,

There is no escape,





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