Memoir of a Cautionary Tale

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Contributor: JD DeHart

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Once, she was assembled,
a living whole, but now an embodied
puzzle. There is no way of knowing

at what age she fell apart,
or to trace the first rattle of brokenness.

It's a question best left unsettled
unless you have an army behind you.

What was the moment she
was disassembled? A wounding made
long ago in her history,

I suppose. Nightwalker, no longer
a dreamer. Another puzzle:

What happened? A folded-up passerby
waving his finger, or a wad of
stained cash. She went away, that's sure.

Yet, I still wonder. Did she think
before she was walking into the shadow
of trees? Did she remember

the sound of her own childishness?

A whisper through houses, over small
side streets, across rough country roads that says,

Don’t get in. Don’t go, stop,
this is where you fall. This is unholy second
earth shatters.

You can be better. There is still life to live.
You have a voice, girl. Don't silence yourself.
The world fights enough to do it for you.

But all the figures float by, still trying
to reach while each word became
a silent syllable on some unknown

forest floor.

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