Todd Heldt


The pen is out of ink. You can see
the ink in the cartridge, but nothing
comes out. You scratch through
the annual budget report. That was
the only copy. The page is empty
and cannot call your hand away
from whatever else it was doing.
The train home jumps a curve faster
than a drunk girl on prom night. But
twin flowers blossom on the windshield,
because an other is often needed,
a trigger to become who you are.
An emergency crew combs through
wrecked metal. Crosses dot the road,
but birds eat the candy the mourners
have left for the children. They are
always children, and the birds
won't sing, or they are so loud it is
hard to think through their screeching.
The train falls into the ocean
and sinks to a crushable depth.
You are trapped in a well--hasn't he
seen the news? Everyone is talking about
the girl in the well, and the doctor opines
that there is no quick cure for long falls
or claustrophobia or for sleeping with
the wrong person on purpose. He proposes
a regimen of liquids, mild foods and
tactful games. People are cautioned
to talk around the truth in your presence
and to pretend that everything is normal.
Then there you are, on the bottom
of the ocean, untouched and perfect,
but the birds will not shut up, and
the page holds more questions than
questions, and it is too far to hold
your breath, and he can't even
get down there, much less bring you up.

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