Wood splintered as bullets whizzed past his head, hitting the trees and stirring dust from the ground, momentarily blinding him, but he kept running. He could hear their shouts at his side, replied with broken commands of his own, and he could see his face at his side, smeared with dirt and blood.
His heart pounded against his ribs as he waited with baited breath, shield tucked close against his side and gun at his chest as he listened for the footsteps to come down the hall. Boots tapped against the tile. He straightened, lifted his gun and fired.
Debris fell around him, crumbling pieces of New York's buil
to open somewhere in all of us
emerging somewhere between
the throat and the spine,
spitting out ink as it burrowed deeper,
giving a new place to hide and store
smiles for better days,
a place for matchbooks and
milk cartons and anything in-between
a place to harbor unkept promises and
other multitudes of sorrow.
had been placed on shelves with chipped
high above the earth
were brought underneath us once again
at this not-quite cemetery,
the all-encompassing "i-love-you"
buried deeply in the mix
of scattered blades and bones
as we learned
how to confront skeletons
belonging to strangers other than ourselves.
from passing by the roses strewn
at the feet of the fallen and feeling
the names of the dead on the cold, wet
stone, there became a certain
satisfaction in breathing
and even more in realizing we still could.