This is a resubmission of sorts. It's changed a little, but not too horribly much, since I've had it here. I was going to send it off to some journals, despite the efforts of a few people to talk me out of it, until an unrelated suggestion sort of changed it all. Someone pointed out a metaphor they thought was cliche, I agreed and changed it and ever since I haven't been able to help but see the piece as good for what it is, but falling short of what it could be, as far as good metaphors go. Since I put a good bit of work in it and am now considering it axed, I thought I'd put it back up here.
I'm still proud of it, but I think I'd be selling the topics and situations here--which is where the real loyalty of the piece lies--short by getting this published before it's anything short of the best I can do with it, in language and the strength and structure of the ideas/metaphors/visual presentation. I'm going to be hacking it back apart and seeing where the idea really needs to end up over whatever amount of time it takes, so wish me luck. Feel free to comment as loosely or critically as you wish--but this preface is a bit of a warning that any critique will probably not be rolled into this version of the piece (so don't be disappointed, I'll still read it and if you're making good points consider those when I'm reworking things.)
*there are some formatting limitations that prevent the presentation as-intended.
***Big thanks to =JenniferStarling for suggesting this. She's wonderful. Go read some of her poems, or a few chapters from the BOOK she's working on!