distilled

without you,
how would i know to run from my reflection
walk with my sight fixed on the street
always wear long sleeves
or how fast i can gnaw my fingernails to bits?
for that matter why would i glance back
every second to make sure no one follows

my tongue might not flop so helplessly
maybe it wouldn't choke up lies
when she asks, have you seen a ghost, you are so pale

no more shrinking away, maybe, when eyes meet mine
or trembling so hard the teacup slips from my hand,
crash on the tile below

or staggering everywhere like a drunkard,
slogging one limb after another
day after day
then again i may have just been born like
that

1/31/10