As Eleanor, Before Pandemonium

By | 1 September 2023

The worst part of it is remembering. That you once fell
into a lake while looking for my iguana. Another time, we split

the earth open. Once, I forgot who I was and unraveled
my mind all over Janet’s living room, tore all the wallpaper

off her code. But you kissed it together again.
Heaven is a one-way street with no stoplights and hell

is other people. A stack of unread magazines. A thought
experiment with no answers. You saw the time

knife, predicted the surgery. We’ve been through this
800 times. Sometimes, we were just friends. But if we found

each other in every reboot, why am I afraid now,
the one time I’ve graduated from lab rat to scientist?

You couldn’t lie to save a life, but I promise
I’m worth it. I’m a legit snack. I’m a forking

delight. Look at what you’ve made me, sunbaked
Arizona trashbag: a good person. You’ve cured me hard.

I’ve laughed and feared so much, it’s fixed
my coulrophobia. Here’s my agony in the garden

lawn: I didn’t ask to be the key to salvation.
I’d rather break into heaven than waltz right through

without you. I’d elope to purgatory, with all its lukewarm
beers and live covers. So please let this king’s cup

pass me by. I want to have my moral yogurt
and eat it too. I want to watch this movie with you forever.

I wish I could be selfish a little longer. But sure, I can play
the messiah. I can be a martyr: For you, I’d take

the trolley. I’d take the supermarket stampede
of a thousand shopping carts. I’d take the imperative.

So don’t worry about me. Hurry into the waiting
room. I’ll be dandy. I’ll paint the neighborhood

white, like a real good lie. Like my first Christmas
without coal. I have an archangel and a compass now.

I’ve been through hell and back. I’ll see you
on the other side. Everything will be fine.

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